Truckee Citizens of the Year 2000: Al Pombo and Lisa Abrahams presented with citizens of the year awards for their outstanding contributions in Truckee
Of all the awards presented to Truckee residents, none may be more personal, more distinguished, or carry with it a greater sense of accomplishment than citizen of the year.
Nominations for male and female candidates were delivered to Truckee Interclub, a service organization that helps facilitate communication between clubs, earlier this year.
The organization coordinates awards, such as citizen of the year, for a collaborative of clubs. Both Truckee Rotary Clubs are members of the Interclub, as are the Truckee Optimists, Soroptimist International, American Association of University Women, Truckee Lions and Truckee Lionesses.
The Interclub has a constituency of about 250 members, said Dan O’Gorman, past Interclub chair. “Most of the clubs nominated people,” he said. “A representative from each club picked the winners.”
Leadership positions within the community, specific outstanding services performed within the last three years, depth of involvement, commitment and time were among the criteria for the candidates. Club membership is not a criteria for nomination.
Lisa Ann Abrahams
“I feel very honored to be able to make a very special presentation to Lisa Abrahams for citizen of the year,” said Sharilyn Nelson at the American Association of University Women meeting Tuesday night. “She has affected our community in many, many ways.”
Lisa Ann Abrahams, a school nurse for Tahoe Truckee Unified School District for more than 16 years, was nominated by the American Association of University Women. She has been a member of AAUW since 1989.
“I really would like to thank my branch of the AAUW for nominating me, it is very much an honor,” Abrahams said. “And it is even more an honor to win.”
Abrahams’ volunteer work in the community has spanned two decades.
Among her accomplishments, Abrahams has worked with the local Lions Club to provide glasses for students who would have no other means for vision exams.
She is currently working to set up a dental referral process for children in need of dental care though Tahoe-Truckee Community Foundation and Sierra Nevada Children’s Services.
On a larger scale, Abrahams is working to provide a referral process for children without health insurance through the California Healthy Families Low Cost Insurance program. One of the goals is to enroll children up to 18 years old in a federally funded low cost health insurance program.
“It’s one of my main priorities,” Abrahams said.
Her commitment to health has led to a strong leadership role within the community.
Abrahams has served as the Town of Truckee representative on the Nevada County Families and Youth Services Commission Council for the last three years. The council makes funding allocation recommendations to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors for services for families and youth. Abrahams attended monthly meetings in Nevada City and reviewed grant requests. Tahoe Women’s Services and Sierra Nevada Children’s Services were two Truckee groups to benefit from her efforts.
Abrahams is also a Truckee member of the United Way’s Nevada County Needs Assessment Project and a representative on the Placer County Greater Collaborative for Health and Human Services.
Besides her role as a medical practitioner, Abrahams has stepped into a women’s rights leadership position.
Among the programs Abrahams has helped lead the way for women include education advocacy, mentor programs and women in history.
Abrahams is now working with teen parents at Sierra High School to provide young mothers with child care so they can continue their education.
Other community organizations Abrahams participates in include the Sierra Nevada Choir, Truckee Actors Guild and the Truckee Group of Individual and Family Counseling – which she founded.
Does she ever make time for herself?
Abrahams is currently enrolled in the Masters of Science in Nursing program at Sacramento State University with an emphasis on children’s health.
“I take lots of therapeutic breaks. And I swim and take a jacuzzi almost every day,” she said. “And I spend time with my daughters.”
Abrahams said budgeting her time isn’t always easy.
“I don’t do (the activities) all at once, these are things I have been working on for 16 years,” she said. “And I do know the community well. I know a lot of good people and have good connections … There are a lot of people working on (these projects).”
She has given a lot to the community. But now the community has an opportunity to give back.
“Just three months ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Abrahams said at the AAUW meeting. “But to experience what wonderful friends I have has made (the last three months) all worthwhile.”
Abrahams said she has been working on a newly formed Breast Cancer Advisory Council, which has also become one of her top priorities. “Anyone can join. You should contact me or Janet Brady at Tahoe Forest Hospital to get started.”
For now, Abrahams has taken a medical leave from the school district. But she plans to return soon.
Lisa and her husband have two young daughters.
Al Pombo, the male citizen of the year, was nominated by the Truckee Noon Rotary club.
As of press time Al’s family and friends were keeping the award a secret from him and planned to present the award today at the Truckee Noon Rotary Club meeting at Northstar-at-Tahoe.
Pombo, a familiar Truckee fixture since 1969, is best known for his contribution to the Legacy Foundation. The Truckee River Legacy Foundation is a trails development project along the Truckee River. The long-term goal is that the trails will eventually connect Glenshire, Donner Lake, Northstar, Highway 89, West Lake Tahoe and North Lake Tahoe.
Pombo, who owns an excavation company, was a key player in the initial construction of the trail.
“He did the initial excavation and clearing of the trail,” said Marshall Lewis, vice president of Our Truckee Legacy Foundation. “He built in the neighborhood of 1,500 feet of the total 4,600 feet.”
“Al made a big contribution to the trail last year at virtually no cost to us,” said Chris Matthew, owner of Trout Creek Landscape.
Al’s wife Karla estimates that in equipment and time, Al donated about $24,000 to the construction of the trail system.
According to his friends and the numerous people who have received support from the 32-year Truckee resident, Al is the king of topsoil.
The Friends of the Library project, Truckee High School Nature Trail and the soccer fields, High Sierra Herb Garden, Sierra Mountain Middle School, and the ball fields for Truckee Elementary School all received topsoil courtesy of Al Pombo, Inc.
Pombo has also been a regular sponsor and contributor to the Truckee Rodeo, Ducks Unlimited, the DARE Program and Cannibal Cruise.
“He has been sponsoring Truckee Little League and for about 20 years,” Karla said, and has donated his truck for parades.
Pombo has also sponsored AYSO Soccer teams and various high school athletic teams over the years.
“He’s one of those people who when you need some help, when you need a push in the right direction, he will help you out,” Matthew said. “I know I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Al.”
Al has also done volunteer work for his local Catholic church, such as plowing snow and cooking at church functions.
Pombo has helped make the town what it is today. He received his first backhoe in the early 1970s and started his own excavation business shortly after.
A native of Tracy, Calif., Pombo and his wife have five children and one grandchild.
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