Atascadero’s business community will honor Wayne Cooper, a longtime supporter of Atascadero High School and local youth, as its 2012 Citizen of the Year on Saturday night.
Cooper, 68, will be recognized at the annual Atascadero Chamber of Commerce installation dinner at The Pavilion on the Lake.
The 1962 Atascadero High School graduate has made his mark on the community through a number of endeavors, including public service and advocating for youth sports.
“He’s a great choice for what he does and what he continues to do,” said longtime friend and community service colleague Donn Clickard.
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“He just has this quiet leadership quality that commands respect of the people around him.”
Cooper, the owner of a pump testing company, Wayne Cooper Ag Services, was an Atascadero Unified School District Trustee from 1992 to 2000.
Born and raised on the Carrisa Plains, he attended high school in Atascadero and was a founding board member of the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation. It supported a revamped stadium, construction of the all-weather track and new lights and visitors bleachers in the late 1990s. The group continues to bring scholarships and other programs to the community today.
More recently, Cooper has worked to create a new Greyhound Foundation program called Lighthouse, which works to help youth overcome addiction through awareness, prevention and intervention.
“He insists on doing it right and doing the best for kids. And that’s what he’s always done,” Clickard said.
Cooper also served on the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission from 1998 to 2004.
He and his wife, Diana, also an Atascadero High School graduate, have four children and 13 grandchildren, “all of whom are either past, present or future Greyhounds,” according to the chamber.
His mother, the late Evalena Cooper Smith, also graduated from Atascadero High School in 1936.