Many more people make Stockton a special place

Tonight, I came across this piece written by Mike Klocke, Record Editor. I doubt Mr. Klocke intended to make this a meme, but I'm still going to make my own list and pass out some more holiday cheer.

Rod Villagomez: My fearless co-host of Podcast Stockton. Rod is an animal! Rod started Valley Sports Network and broadcasted the Beep Ball World Series. His motivation? He wanted people all over the world to share in this amazing sport, and to see the brighter side of Stockton. Is there anything this guy won't do? 24 hour web broadcast? Done! Walk the 5k Run & Walk Against Hunger while broadcasting live? Check! Rod is laying the ground work for a Stockton independent media revolution. I am proud to be a part of it and proud to call him my friend!

Andy Pinasco: Fresh! Is there any other way to describe him? Andy gets things stirred up like nobody else. He has a lot of passion about Stockton and he's not afraid to use it.

Wes Rhea: Keeping his loyal flock of internet followers in the know is Wes's gig, and no one does it better. No one markets the city better then Wes and his crew at the CVB. Wes has turned many of us into tourists of our town. Keep an eye out for Stockton Tweetup #2.

Emily Baime: Downtown Stockton still gets a bad rap, but Emily and her team do an awesome job reminding us that Downtown Stockton isn't the same as it was years ago. And thanks to her, I'll never look at pumpkin pie the same.

Dawn Beckwith: My wife is amazing. She, herself with a full-time job and full time family, still finds time to participate in all of the kids' school activities and has the strength to put up with me. I am who I am because of of her.

Slick Diaz: If that is his real name. Slick calls it like he sees it and makes no apologies. Making sure that the folks at the Record dot their Is and cross their Ts, he adds an awesome edge to the blogging community of Stockton!

Michael Fitzgerald, Ian Hill, Tara Cuslidge, David Siders, Christian Burkin and Daniel Thigpen: The Record continues to get a bad rap in some circles. Say what you will about this group but it is me that plays in their sandbox. They bang out their craft with heart and get big props from me for doing so!

Jennifer Boylan and David Vigil: Along with the rest of the Stockton Stingrays and volunteers like David, Chuck and Connor, these guys introduced me to an amazing community within our community. They taught me that the world can be a beautiful place, even if you can't see it. I have learned so much about our blind and visually impaired community from these guys. Bringing the NBBA World Series to Stockton was no small feat. They worked their tails off and pulled off an amazing event. Getting to know them and their team has been one of my highlights of 2009. Stockton! Stingrays!

William Story: I finally had the chance to meet the great Mr. Story, the SJDC instructor that has quietly been helping students get started in media careers for years. A man of few words, he cares deeply about this community and his students. As we explode is 2010, know this: Story had a hand in the foundation.

Gabe & Devin: Podcasting brings awesomeness and these guys have a formula of awesomeness times 2! I dig seeing the world through there shows. I will always be thankful for their support of our show.

Sophoan Sorn: You might thing that world-class film festivals and Stockton go together like "lounge acts and the Titanic" (to steal a quote from another person on this list), but you'd be wrong. Sophoan is a class act!

Manuel Montes: No, he does not own Manny's, but if he did, he'd put one at the 12th hole at Swenson so we wouldn't have to jump the fence to go to Quick Stop. I "met" Manuel on Twitter and then on the golf course. Since then, I've discovered just how cool this guy is!

Jon & Christie Remington: They were tired of seeing ads for hookers on Craigslist so they started their own site,, a family-friendly place to sell the stuff you don't want and pick up some great deals on stuff other people don't want. This husband and wife duo want to make this world a better place for their young daughter, one ad at a time. Spend 10 minutes with them and you'll catch their passion.

Fred & Flower Hagele: My wife and I met the Hageles years ago during a rough time in my life. Their friendship couldn't have come at a better time. I love these guys and don't tell them nearly enough. This family doesn't get "airplay" but they should. They care immensely about the lives of others and never stop giving.

Greg Bahr: Putting on entertaining events like the Miracle Mile Night is the kind of thing that gets Greg up in the morning. He cares about a lot of things and puts a ton of energy into bringing people together. His dedication for the Neighborhood Renaissance Program gives me hope we'll see it expanded in Stockton.

Bill Ries-Knight: Some people wander around looking for people to victimize. Bill wanders Stockton in real life and in the on-line world, looking for people to help. Stockton is better for Bill being here.

Jack & Rita Neary: I don't get in-law jokes. I don't because somehow I was graced with the most incredible in-laws I could've dreamed for. This couple epitomizes charity and are always asking the world, "how can we help". I've learned so much about life from my in-laws and am eternally grateful they didn't kill me when their daughter announced to them that we were a couple.

Tom Mondragon: My friend of many, many years, was the inspiration behind Podcast Stockton. Your fiery spirit has alway inspired me. Thank you, Tom. You rock!

Tony Mannor: Besides running a marketing company, Tony keeps himself busy turning Finnegan's into a place where everyone knows your name.

Tom Moccia: Amassing thousands of subscribers to from his home studio in north Stockton seems to have come easy to Tom. He was the first person to give my podcast project a chance and I will always be grateful for that!

Shawna Richardson: Some people are charitable, some people like to skate in roller derby, Shawna merges the two. Whether it's skating in front of Food 4 Less to motivate passers by to donate to the Stuff the Bus campaign or working an SPCA telethon, Shawna gives and gives and gives. Cross her in a bout and she'll knock you on your rear.

The rest of you fine people of Stockton: The toughest part about putting this list together is knowing that some people that aren't on this list might read it and wonder why they were left off. There are many, many more people I could add to the list. I l look forward to bringing you more stories of awesome people.

Merry Christmas.