As she tends to do, San Juan Capistrano resident Erin Beyer addressed a crowd of her peers.
Only this time, instead of hosting Coffee Chat on a Friday morning at Hennessey’s Tavern, Beyer instead reflected on being named the San Juan Capistrano Woman of the Year.
“I know the people who have been formally honored this way. I know who they are and how much they do,” Beyer said. “To be included in that group is just overwhelming. It means a lot to me.”
Beyer was one of numerous awardees recognized during the annual San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce Installation and Awards Banquet held Thursday, July 20, at the Inn at the Mission San Juan Capistrano.
Beyer, who said she loves San Juan “so much,” has lived here for 25 years. She works as a real estate agent and often leads discussions on what’s happening in town during the weekly Coffee Chat.
“I can’t imagine anywhere else but this community,” Beyer said. “I love the people here.”
Former Councilmember Larry Kramer was named Man of the Year. Kramer is an environmental activist, member of the local Citizens’ Climate Education group, which writes columns for The Capistrano Dispatch, and recently helped plant a tree at Four Oaks Park on behalf of the Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano.
Kramer lives in San Juan with his wife, Christine Kramer.
“You’re a wonderful group of people. I love this town,” Kramer said. “It’s been great for us for 20 years. It’s the first time we’ve ever lived any place after moving 26 times.”
Kramer said he loves being a volunteer and participating in the Rotary Club. He is also a former Navy submarine captain and received recognition from Orange County Fifth District Board Supervisor Katrina Foley during a council meeting on June 20 for his community service.
As for the Business of the Year, that was awarded to The Tea House on Los Rios. The tea spot is a popular pick for brunch and tends to be filled with customers during weekends.
“We are so proud of our employees, of our guests, and of our overall community, and humbled and honored to be accepting this award on behalf of our family and our employees,” third-generation owner and operator of The Tea House Damian Orozco said.
“What started as a small restaurant over 25 years ago has blossomed—and many thanks to our community and to all of you who have supported us and have believed in our legacy, believed in our vision, believed in everything that my grandparents have started, what my mom and her sisters have continued on, and what I am proud and honored to continue on as part of our legacy and family tradition here,” Orozco added.
The Cornerstone Award for nonprofits was awarded to the Rotary Club, which has led projects and initiatives over the years such as annual car show, pancake breakfast before the Swallows Day Parade, donating toys to underserved children, and installing a large ornamental clock at the downtown train depot.
“We do a lot of good in this community,” Rotary Club President Mark McNabb said. “Seventy-five percent of the money we raise stays right here in this community. Our youth are our big part of what we do in Rotary.”
The Chamber on Thursday also posthumously recognized the late Annabelle Isky, a Fiesta Association member who died this year, with the Legacy Award. Susie Wernet was awarded Ambassador of the Year while The Johnson Academy took home the Chamber’s CEO Award.