Honoring someone like Mel McColloch brought out the eloquence in those speaking about him Tuesday, Jan. 13. He’s been president of the Cambria Chamber of Commerce for a dozen years, tireless barbecuer (especially during the community’s July 4th celebrations), inveterate volunteer for innumerable other causes from Scouts to the Cambria Library, and injured veteran who dedicates tons of time, effort and money to other vets.
McColloch was being celebrated as the chamber’s citizen of the year.
Friends, fellow volunteers and governmental representatives sang McColloch’s praises.
Attorney Greg Sanders said the citizen of the year honor is “like a scorecard of how much the honoree has contributed to the community,” and that McColloch’s scorecard is full indeed.
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Of McColloch’s service as a Marine, Sanders said, “he’s still picking shrapnel out of his arms” from his injuries in Korea, and that much of the “rest of his service is still classified.”
Sanders said his friend is “someone after whom we think we should pattern our own lives.” He added that a C.S. Lewis quote described McColloch best — “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
McColloch received the traditional Citizen of the Year clock from the chamber, along with official resolution certificates from the state and county.
The honoree was surrounded by family members who’d come from Los Banos, Visalia, Corcoran and Pismo Beach, along with Irene, his wife of 49 years, whom he lauded several times during the ceremonies.
As the ceremonies wound down, McColloch proclaimed himself as being “pretty astounded, surprised and humbled” by it all.