RIO VISTA — After Lee Williams’ wife, Paula, coerced him to attend the Rio Vista Chamber of Commerce awards dinner earlier this month, it came as a shock when he won the Spirit of Excellence Award – one that the chamber keeps secret until the presentation.
“I didn’t know anything about this,” he said. “I know I didn’t deserve this. I can name other people who do deserve this much more.”
Williams was born and raised in Birds Landing and lived there or Montezuma Hills until 1997, when he and Paula moved closer to Rio Vista. There he raised twin daughters Ashley and Kristel, who are now 25.
The Williamses started Williams Mobile Service in 2001 and opened up Rio Vista Tire in 2009. Both are located on Cattey Lane in Rio Vista.
Chamber of Commerce executive director Karen Smith said Williams was chosen because of his tremendous community service. He is a Rio Vista Rotary Club member and among his numerous volunteer efforts, last year he dressed up as Santa Claus and brought the Pinks Heals fire trucks for cancer patients to Rio Vista.
Williams has a long history of volunteering in the community. He has been a volunteer firefighter with Montezuma Fire District for 36 years, since he was 17. He has been a captain of the department for 12 years.
His other volunteer efforts include serving on the River Delta School Board for four years – two years as president; helping Montezuma firefighters cook for different groups and for the department; and volunteering for annual events such as Clay for Kids at Birds Landing, the Isleton Catholic Chicken Cook, the Rio Vista Catholic Chicken Cook, First Congregational Church Lamb Cook and the Rio Vista Moose Lodge Rib or Chicken Cook.
Williams said he is still shocked about winning the award, but Smith and the rest of the chamber said he fits the chamber’s description of the Spirit of Excellence Award recipient well: “For those individuals demonstrating a passion and spirit for the community of Rio Vista in heart and deed: showing perseverance and unselfish dedication to create an atmosphere of excellence.”
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