Stories By Katey Garrett

HOME-RUN

Exeter's 2006 Man of the Year hit a home run with community members who appreciate his ongoing involvement with the Exeter Little League.

President of Exeter Little League for the past five years, Wes Grim's statistics on the back of a baseball card would read that he has served countless hours as a coach, umpire and fund-raiser. From building a new baseball field to selling concessions, Grim has an obvious love for the game that when combined with his passion for the youth, has helped the mentor and leader to hit home runs in the hearts of hundreds.

&#8220Working with the Little League parents and kids is so rewarding,” Grim said. &#8220It is a lot of work but at the end of the season, I think, ‘whew that was fun.'”

Native to Exeter and a hero to his family, Grim has influenced and inspired his three children in great ways. Courtney, 18, has adopted her father's love for helping youth. A student at the College of Sequoias, Courtney is studying to become a math teacher and works part-time at Exeter's Gingerbread House preschool. Sharon, a sophomore at Exeter, has made her dad proud as an all-around athlete who plays volleyball, basketball and softball. Grim's only son is also taking after his dad. Heath, a freshman at Exeter, is as an avid baseball fan and athlete who enjoys wrestling, playing football and helping with Little League.

Although each of his children hold a very special place in his heart, it is obvious that the apple of Grim's eye is his wife, Charl.

&#8220She's a Woodlake graduate but I don't hold that against her,” said Grim, who attributes much of his success to his one and only. &#8220Without her, I wouldn't be able to accomplish the things I want to do and there's no way that I would be the man of the year without her.” He continued, &#8220With everything I do, she is right there helping me.”

Another group of people that Grim treasures deeply are those who work closely with him at the fire station in Exeter. &#8220My current task at the station is a big one,” teased Grim. &#8220I'm working on researching who nominated me for this award and I've got an idea that I work with a few of those people.”

As a Fire Captain for the State of California's Department of Forestry, Grim has gone above and beyond his duties to set an example for all firefighters to follow. An organizer of the Christmas Tree gift drive for underprivileged children in and around Exeter, Grim refuses to take credit for the success of the program, stating that it wouldn't have been possible without his wife's help and support.

In addition to the toy drive, Grim also contributed much of his time to applying for a grant that was awarded to Exeter's fire department. The grant provided Grim with the funds to purchase the Jaws of Life that can be used to extricate a person who may be trapped inside a vehicle or structure.

Setting an example for fellow community members to follow, Grim continually devotes his time to others and expects nothing in return. A true gentleman, the hometown hero &#8220blames” his success on those who surround him.

&#8220I wouldn't be named the Man of the Year without all the help and support from Little League board members, community members, my family and friends,” said Grim. &#8220I'm in shock. I feel so humbled.”

For years, Grim has stepped up to the plate without any hesitation and as the Man of the Year, he has hit a grand slam.

HOMEMADE HERO

Located on Pine St. in downtown Exeter, Hometown Emporium is a place for community members of all ages to gather for coffee breaks, lunch meetings, scrumptious snacks and tasty treats. Owner of the bakery and gift shop and Exeter's 2006 Woman of the Year is Kristy Alves, well known for her accomplishments as a business owner and baker. However, few are aware of the &#8220secret services” she conducts when no one is watching.

Every Tuesday, for the last several years, Alves has quietly donated dozens of loaves of bread to the Exeter Food Closet. She also donates gift baskets, gift certificates and cookie trays daily to organizations in and around the community, including churches, schools and more. In addition, Alves often anonymously donates trays of sandwiches and sweets to funeral lunches and several times each month, she sends snacks to Lemoore Naval Air Station.

&#8220When you're able to, you give. It always comes back 10-fold,” said Alves. &#8220I do it when I see or feel it needs to be done, not because I want to be recognized.”

With a gift for helping others through generous donations, Alves not only packs up and ships out her delicious sweets, but donates both of her sons in the US Navy. Pictures of Luis, 22, and Frankie, 20, hang in the family owned business where a bulletin board honors soldiers from Exeter and the surrounding communities.

A sponsor of several sports teams throughout the years, Alves has impacted the youth in Exeter as a giving businesswoman who rewards honesty. In fact, when students or lunch customers turn in found keys or wallets, Alves is quick to dish up an extra helping of their choice of food to express her appreciation toward the good samaritans.

&#8220Hometown pride isn't just about the businesses,” said Alves. &#8220It is about the people.”

Each week, when special needs students clean the downtown alleys, Alves invites them into Hometown Emporium for a snack and soft drink and as the mural tours bring new faces into town, Alves often extends her hand to offer free sweets to visitors, encouraging them to return to her hometown.

&#8220Everything in Exeter is so unique,” said Alves. &#8220And it's great because visitors really embrace the town.”

Honored with the prestigious National Jefferson Award for Community Service in 2006, Alves was recognized for her community involvement with an all expense paid trip to Washington D.C. where she received her award.

&#8220They called me in late April and I thought it was an April's fools joke,” said Alves. &#8220But then I got a packet in the mail and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, they were serious.'”

While in D.C., Alves was honored with the award but said that during her time there, she was reminded of the people back home that she thought were also very deserving of the award.

&#8220In D.C., I was listening to everyone talk about their towns and the work they are doing there,” said Alves who shared a speech about Exeter while in D.C. &#8220And I realized that there are so many people from Exeter that could be there, in D.C., talking about their good works.”

Alves has donated countless hours to the community as not only a business owner and &#8220secret server” but also as a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board, serving as President in 2006. A big fan of her &#8220coffee guys”, who gather together at Hometown Emporium, Alves treats her friends to annual Christmas parties and gifts community members with special made presents that are treasured by all.

A true team player, Alves said that competing with other businesses is never something she worries about because each business is unique and each owner is worthy of several awards.

&#8220If you spend your time worrying about competition, you're taking away from your business,” said Alves. &#8220And when you take away from business, you are taking away from giving to others and serving the community.”

Something that Alves does worry about however, are the business owners who close their doors.

&#8220I hate to see them go,” said Alves. &#8220I want to help them because keeping a business open can be hard, and when they have to close it is not only hard on the owners but it is hard for the community as well.”

Quick to raise your spirits, donate goodies and invite strangers in for a cup of Joe, Alves humbly and very secretively donates much of her time and energy towards keeping the hometown spirit alive in Exeter.

&#8220This is just such a neat town,” said Alves. &#8220Everyone wishes they could have an Exeter.”

As a result of the homemade hero's endless efforts and the impact she has had on Exeter's youth and community members, she has been named the Woman of the Year of 2006.

&#8220I'm honored and shocked. I feel that there are a lot of other people who do just as much if not more and many of them aren't ever noticed for their good deeds,” said Alves. &#8220Maybe they drew the wrong name out of the hat.”

Ever so humble, Alves involves herself and her homemade goodies in community events, knowing just how to put a smile on your face and a cookie in your hand.

Start typing and press Enter to search