Countless hours of service is rewarded April 16

Ruhkala Community Service Awards honor residents, business
By: Staff report
-A +A

Service doesn’t go unrecognized in Rocklin. The city will make presentations to the winners of the annual Roy and Peggy Ruhkala Community Service Awards at a reception to be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 16 at Finn Hall on Rocklin Road.  The public is invited to this free event.

Recipients of the awards include David and Connie Cullivan (individual/couple award), Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce (group/business award) and Gay Morgan (Pioneer Award).


David and Connie Cullivan

David and Connie Cullivan, for their commitment and dedication to serving the Rocklin Community, will be presented with the individual/couple award.

David and Connie Cullivan have made their home in Rocklin for the past 31 years.  Their community involvement started as volunteers with fundraisers, fashion shows, bingo and St. Patrick's day and Cinco de Mayo dinners at the old St. Mary’s on First Street, which later evolved into St. Peters and Paul. During this time, Connie was a member of the Whitney Ranch Women's Club, serving as vice-president, newsletter editor and chairing their fashion show fundraiser for two years.

As their daughters grew, David coached soccer for 10 years, Connie was an art docent at Rocklin elementary and Parker Whitney for eight years and they volunteered together at local swim meets for 15 years. Connie started the first fundraiser fashion show at Rocklin High in 1993, which lasted for several years, and together as RHS booster members, they worked at bingo, in the snack bar, at swim meets and in the announcers booth during football season.

In 1988, David was appointed to the city of Rocklin Planning Commission where he served for eight years, two of those years as chairman.  In 1995 he was appointed to the Rocklin school board to complete a vacating term.  Recently, he served a term on the city of Rocklin's Board of Review. 

During this time of David's service, Connie served first on the city of Rocklin's Mobile Home Rent Control Board, then in 1990 she was appointed to the Redevelopment Advisory Board.  In 1992 she was appointed to the Centennial Committee.  In 1995, she won election to city council.  While serving the city, Connie was appointed as vice-chair of the Placer County Community Services Board and as chairman of the Placer County Economic Development Board.  She also was appointed to the California League of Cities Housing and Economic Development Commission. In 1999 Connie served as the mayor of Rocklin.

As a family, all the Cullivans have been great supporters of the city of Rocklin's community theater since the city's first performance for the Rocklin Centennial in 1993.  Who can forget Dave as Silias Snodgrass, the villain who stalked the city and was finally captured at Finn Hall?  David has "walked the boards" many times, most notably as the villain in "Babes in Toyland," as Daddy Warbucks in "Annie" and as the unforgettable "Scrooge."   

While David soaked up the applause, Connie worked in the snack bar, did press releases for the plays and chaired the annual theater fundraisers.  In 2002 Connie was awarded the "Angel of the Arts" award for her service to the city's theater program.

Over the years Connie and David were participants and volunteers for the annual Rocklin Jubilee.  The years they didn't perform or emcee on stage, work at a booth for the high school, snap pictures for the Jubilee committee or serve food at the barbecue, they marched in the parade. 

Connie and David were some of the originators of the infamous "Backyard Barbecue Brigade," a mishmash of merry neighborhood adults and children who always performed synchronized routines to Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever."  An unforgettable entry, their group won first place every year they participated, one year even taking the sweepstakes trophy.  For their contributions to the Jubilee over the years, they were honored as Grand Marshals of the parade in 2003.

Today they are proud that their two daughters, Kathryn Smith and Erin Cantwell, and their husbands have chosen the community they have served over the years as their own homes as well.  More importantly, they are excited that their three granddaughters, Constance, Victoria and Audrey will grow up as members and contributors to the community they both love so much.


Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce

The Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce will be recognized for their continued serves to the Rocklin community and will be honored with the group/business award.

The chamber, which is celebrating its 40th year serving the community and its businesses, was cited for its support of the city’s economy and a variety of civic efforts. The chamber has grown from just an idea 40 years ago to more than 700 members today, with offices in downtown located in the train station building.

For the last 15 years, the chamber has hosted one of the city’s largest community events – Hot Chili & Cool Cars – on the streets of downtown Rocklin. Its Scramble for Scholars Golf Tournament raises more than $20,000 a year – more than any other single organization – to support college scholarships for graduating Rocklin high school students.

The chamber hosts a monthly breakfast that has become a major forum for business, public policy and other issues, as well as organizing a Leadership Rocklin program that trains people for future civic leadership.

The Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce has been a vital part of this community and its service to our community continues to increase. The chamber has consistently rallied its members to improve our community and regularly gives back to Rocklin and its citizens.


Gay Morgan

The Pioneer Award will go to Gay Morgan for her long-term dedication and service to the Rocklin community.

Morgan comes from a long line of community volunteers.  Her grandfather, John Morys was a member of the Rocklin City Council in the 1900’s, her mother was the city treasurer and her father was the volunteer fire chief and city inspector.  She is also related to the historic Willard Family.  Her cousins are LaVerne Willard Splan and Laura Willard Woods and Pearl Willard was married to her cousin George.

Morgan began her service to the community as an elementary school teacher in the Rocklin school district in 1951.  She retired after more than 35 years of teaching.  During that time she also served as PTA president and worked to establish an after-school theater program for elementary students. 

Sitting patiently year after year, while fledgling “Rocklin Idols,” auditioned for parts, she worked quietly behind the scenes making sure that the children wanting a role had a chance at some stage time, even if in the chorus.

Even after retirement from the district, Morgan helped establish a Rocklin elementary “all class” reunion event that brought together many old and new residents and their families, with many grown adults coming up to say “didn’t you used to be Mrs. Morgan?”  She also worked after retirement as the fourth-grade field trip coordinator for the district, spending hours on the phone arranging trips for children to explore California historical spots like Sutter’s Fort and the Coloma gold discovery site.

One of the founding members of the Rocklin Historical Society, Morgan has taken on the roles of ombudsperson, docent, fundraiser, board member and point of contact for all inquiries about Rocklin history.  She has led many groups of school children and adults through the museum as a docent and trained others for that role.  She has been known to drop everything when an out-of-town visitor calls to say they are at the museum and would like to have a look, but it is closed.  She has helped folks track down relatives through the museum and shared many memories of days gone by with nostalgic ex-residents.

Morgan is also a member of the Rocklin Friends of the Library.  She started helping out with the monthly used book sale fundraisers and moved on to creatively handle the displays and bulletin boards, art installations and fundraisers.  She has been with this group for more than 15 years, with strong personal feelings about the importance of our libraries to the community, even in these “electronic” times.

She is also responsible for organizing monthly luncheons for the Rocklin “Finn Ladies,” a group of local women (of Finnish and honorary-Finnish decent) that meet to trade stories and stay in touch with their Rocklin Finnish friends.

As an example of how truly productive a successful “retirement” can be, Morgan continues to work in the Rocklin community to serve the residents and make the city a place where education, arts, literature and history are all given the critical attention they need to give the community a true and honest identity.  She is truly a dedicated and vigorous advocate for Rocklin and its heritage and well deserving of recognition for all that she has accomplished for the citizens of Rocklin.