Louise Draxler, Kings County - A Fresno State graduate with a degree in health science, Draxler has dedicated her life of dairying, health advocacy, education and community service.
For the past 12 years, she has been a full-time teacher at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility at the Corcoran State Prison and is one of the two testing coordinators for Tulare Lake Adult School.Prior to that, Draxler pursued a 14-year career at University Medical Center in Fresno and received her master's in curriculum and education from Chapman University and a doctorate in education administration from LaSalle University.
Lonna Torrico, Fresno County - Fresno State graduate Torrico did not grow up on a farm nor did she study agriculture.
However, she is a highly enthusiastic agriculture advocate and educator in her role as director of the Agriculture Literacy Program at Fresno State.
After 20 years as a teacher and administrator, Torrico attended the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom's first Summer Ag Institute for educators in 1983.
Since then she has received over $1.5 million in grants to expand the agricultural education message; developed the successful Ag Summer Bridge Program; and helped the Farm Bureau organize its outreach program to educators.
This year, the fruit of Louise Draxler's many contributions to Kings County tastes sweeter after receiving word that she is a 2007 Common Threads Award recipient.Three years ago Lil Draxler took home this prestigious honor and now Louise will be similarly feted as a thank you for years of making a positive difference in her community and to agricultural interests.
Judging by the time and effort Louise has given to many organizations, Common Threads selected a very deserving individual.After moving to Kings County in 1989, Louise immediately became active in a variety of volunteer activities.Besides relocating to Hanford from Fresno as Chuck's bride, she found time that year to join the Kings/Tulare Arts Council, Kings County June Dairy Month Committee, Kings County Dairywomen, Kings County Dairy Princess Committee and took on the duties of Youth Chairperson for Hanford Sons of Italy.As each year passed, Louise reached out and took on additional volunteer duties.With service starting different years, she is still actively involved as a project and community leader for the Central Valley 4-H Club and works diligently in a variety of positions supporting the Kings County 4-H Council including President (2004 to present); 4-H Indoor Exhibit Chairperson and Presentation Day Chair (2001-to present) and in 2006 she served as the council's Regional Presentation Day Chair.Besides volunteering her time to agricultural interests, Louise has been an active member of the Kings County Planning Commission since 1998.While the worth of a volunteer is immeasurable, organizations also need monetary support and Louise and Chuck's financial assistance helps a number of church and ag-related activities including 4-H, FFA, Kings Fair Boosters, AgOne Foundation, Ag in the Classroom and Kings County Farm Bureau's Farm Day.In a letter supporting Louise's nomination Doug Mosebar, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation, wrote, "Louise has the very traits, which qualify her to be a worthy recipient of the Common Threads Award.
Gay Hooper, last year's award recipient from Kings County, wrote, "I have worked with Louise at many functions and her main concern is making the event a learning experience for everyone involved.
Louise has certainly made a huge difference on the KCFB family and we are blessed to have her as a member of this community."Louise's upbringing has played an important role in her attitude toward helping others.Born in Petaluma to dairy farmers Walter and Loretta Silacci, Louise spent her formative years learning the value of work while helping on the family farm.
Besides completing chores and schoolwork, Louise enjoyed membership in the Old Adobe 4-H Club where she eventually took on the duties of president.She also earned a Gold Star and received recognition of projects in dairy cattle, cooking and sewing.After graduating from Petaluma Senior High School in 1972 she earned an AA degree from Santa Rosa Junior College then transferred to California State University, Fresno where she earned a degree in Health Science.While at CSUFshe joined the Dairy Club in deference to her roots and became a little sister to the agricultural-focused Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity.Before coming to Hanford as Chuck's wife, Louise worked as a medical technician at University Medical Center for 14 years.Soon after settling in her new life, Louise went back to school to work on a teaching credential.In 1993, she earned a Masters in Education Curriculum and Instruction and in 1997 completed her Doctorate in Education Administration.Besides working as a volunteer, helping Chuck on the family dairy and raising 13-year-old daughter Karli, Louise works full-time as a teacher/testing coordinator for California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility State Prison in Corcoran.Louise will receive her Common Threads Award during a luncheon on Friday, April 13 along with honorees from Fresno, Madera, Merced and Tulare counties.
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