Chairman’s Message

Ashley Bedard 2014 iiJune, 2015

4th Annual Heroes of Vista Honors Our Difference Makers

On April 11, 2015 the Vista Chamber of Commerce hosted its 4th Annual Heroes of Vista gala dinner event with the Vista Education Foundation.  Over 250 local business, civic and community leaders came together to honor individuals and businesses from all walks of life who are making our community a better place to live, work and play.
Being a part of this event is humbling as you get to see up close the passion that these companies and individuals have for our community on a local, regional and global scale.
Honored this year were the following:
•    Educator of the Year: Scholarships – Valerie Weethee, Mission Vista High School
•    Educator of the Year: Arts – Mark Scott, Rancho Buena Vista High School
•    Educator of the Year: Technology – Michelle Blaha, Vista Innovation and Design Academy
•    Administrator of the Year – Jeanie Luckey, Vista Unified School District
•    Deputy of the Year – John Lay, Sheriff’s Department
•    Firefighter of the Year – Eddie Jimenez, Vista Fire Department
•    Veteran of the Year – Chuck Atkinson, Veteran’s Association of North County
•    Small Business of the Year – TJ Crossman’s Auto Repair
•    Large Business of the Year – Toyota of Escondido
•    Innovative Business of the Year – Doctor Bronner’s Magic Soaps
•    Business Person of the Year – Robert Westfall, Solatube International
•    Lifetime Achievement Award – Chuck Rabel

There is an old African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  I don’t know specifically whether or not that is true, but it does take the whole community pulling together to make our society better.  Our finalists and winners are all shining examples of this community-centric mentality.
One of the highlights of the evening is always our Lifetime Achievement Award.  This year’s award went to Mr. Chuck Rabel. Chuck graduated college at Miami University of Ohio in 1967 and had a seven-year career in the U.S. Navy, including a much-decorated tour in Vietnam as a skipper of a fast patrol boat (Swift Boat).  After various business adventures in the aerospace industry, hotel ownership and political campaigns, Chuck arrived in Vista (for the second time) in 1994 as the General Manager for DDH Enterprises.  During Chuck’s tenure at DDH, he helped guide the company from $1.3M in sales in 1993 to over $36M in 2008.  Chuck retired from the “productive sector” in June, 2010.
During Chuck’s time in Vista, he became a fixture at City Council meetings, relentlessly holding city leadership accountable on all fiscal matters. Chuck spent time in numerous civic and charitable organizations during this time and was famous for buying items at one silent auction, only to donate them to the next.  Chuck supports all the local sports team was an avid golfer, a tireless supporter of veterans and was convinced that Vista’s business climate was one that did not require a “tie”.  His finger prints are all over the community as he coordinated Rotarians at Work for several years.  His current endeavor that is coming to fruition is the Military Memorial Wall located along Rotary Lane in downtown Vista (set to open to the public on Memorial Day Weekend).

Now that he is retired, his business card says, “Chuck Rabel, CSP”.  When you ask what “CSP” stands for, he is proud to tell you that he a “Common Sense Person.”

Thank you to all our Heroes of Vista and especially to Chuck Rabel.

Ashley Bedard
Chairwoman of the Board
Broker-Owner RE/MAX Regal
CA BRE: 01734895