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Temecula Chamber Announces the Winners Of The 56th Annual Awards Gala

On Saturday, April 2, 2022, the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Awards Gala at Pechanga Resort Casino. This premier event was a memorable night of elegance and excitement, with over 800 attendees. The evening included dinner, an extravagant silent auction, live theater entertainment, and an outstanding awards presentation. The event was sponsored by Abbott, Noon & Associates CPAs, Inc. as well as Pechanga Resort Casino.

The Temecula Chamber proudly awarded the following businesses, organizations, and citizens:

Bronze Business of the Year – A-Bell Alarms Company
A-Bell Alarms has been “Protecting Lives and Securing Valuables” for Temecula Valley families and businesses since 1985. Family-owned and operated since 1972, our mission at A-Bell Alarms Company is to provide our home and small business customers with professional, highly effective alarm systems and 24/7 alarm monitoring and emergency dispatch at a reasonable cost. Trustworthy, Reliable, Dependable alarm systems and service is what our clients can expect.

Sterling Business of the Year – KHASHAN Law Firm, APC
Lewis Khashan Esq. left a very successful law firm in 2012 to open the KHASHAN Law Firm. He is an attorney who cares about his clients and the community he serves. His courtroom presence has been described by colleagues as intimidating and his results are substantial. Lewis is passionate about saving people from injustice everywhere. From the beginning of the case, clients recognize that he takes their cases as personally as they do.

Gold Business of the Year – Ruff and Ready Moving & Storage
Family-owned and operated moving company founded by John Ruff in 2011 due to unfavorable experiences in the industry with other companies. John had a passion to start a moving company that would do the right thing for not only the clients but especially the employees. 10 years later John still maintains the same values that he started with and has grown the business exponentially because of good ethics and generous community involvement.

Platinum Business of the Year – The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
Scotts Temecula is a world-class facility offering injection molding, assembly, packaging, and distribution services. With a 412,000 sq. ft. facility in Temecula for 21 years, we are proud to be manufacturers of “Made in the USA” products. We have Engineering Design, Simulation, Tooling, and Automation Capabilities, Injection Molding, and In-Mold Labeling Capabilities over 58 machines ranging from 70 to 1,400 tons. Our technical and optimization experience ensures we are more competitive than traditional contract manufacturers.

Ruby Organization of the Year – The Shella Foundation
The Shella Foundation non-profit 501 (c) (3) was formed in 2004 in response to one family’s struggle with disabilities. “Shella” was named for Shelton and Della Foster, who spent their lives assisting their daughter (Debbie) through multiple disabilities. Having firsthand experience of caring for individuals with functional needs, inspired Michael Foster to form this organization as a tribute to his parents. The Foundation provides support to the under-served populations and partners with local community organizations.

Emerald Organization of the Year – JDS Creative Academy
JDS Creative Academy is a nonprofit that inspires and enhances education and training skills in visual performing and digital arts. Providing classes, programs, and events that help participants from mainstream to special needs reach for their dreams and break down workforce barriers in a career of choice and passion. Our unique programs benefit those that are directly involved and the community at large that experiences the output of our TV Shows, Live Events, and Performances.

Valley Young Professional of the Year – Barbie Ray, Barbie Ray Designs
Barbie Ray is the CEO and Creative Director of Barbie Ray Designs, Inc., an award-winning graphic design company empowering small businesses to attract their ideal client through strategic design. Since joining Valley Young Professionals (VYP) in 2017, Barbie truly understands the value of relationships and the positive impact it has on her professional and personal life. She has developed lasting friendships that have inspired her to continue giving back to the local community. Barbie serves as the Events Chair for VYP, as an ambassador for Mt. San Jacinto College Foundation, and as Vice President of her local P.E.O. chapter – a philanthropic organization committed to helping women pursue higher education through scholarships, grants, and awards. When she is not volunteering her time and talents, Barbie loves baking with her toddler son, Benjamin, and exploring new foods at local restaurants with her husband, Michael.

Ambassador of the Year – Kathy Sizemore, A-Bell Alarms Company
Ambassadors are a treasured group of members of the Chamber of Commerce. They work diligently to facilitate positive member relationships and join the Chamber in celebrating our members’ success. Serving as an Ambassador is a serious commitment requiring the allocation of time and participation in various activities to which the Chamber appreciates immensely. Kathy Sizemore has served as an Ambassador with the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce since 2020.

Chairman’s Choice – Esther Phahla, Esther N. Phahla, CPA, APC
The Chairman’s Choice award is a special recognition for one member of the Board of Directors whose commitment and leadership have demonstrated the objectives and mission of the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce. Our award winner runs a business, has a busy family life, and is deeply involved with a couple of other local non-profits. In addition to being a long-time chamber member, they also serve on our Executive Board. Esther Phahla has given her time as an encourager, teacher, expert in her field, friend, provider of perspective, and wise counsel, all with a kind and sincere smile.

Citizen of the Year – Tena Caracciolo, Insurance All Stars Agency
Tena has lived in the Temecula Valley since 1993 and has played a role in helping Temecula become a thriving Southwest Riverside community. Tena is married to Bob Caracciolo and has 3 children, Anthony, Lauren, and Marissa Caracciolo. Insurance All Stars Agency is family-owned and operated. Tena has been a Rotarian for 14 years, currently serves as Membership Chair, and is President-Elect. Tena is the current Chamber Brief Chair for 2021 and 2022, she was nominated for Citizen of the Year in 2015 and 2017. She received Riverside County Board of Supervisors Thriving Business for 2016, Bronze Business of the year in 2019, and Ambassador of the year for 2016.

Tena donates her time and money to Rotary International, The Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce, BNI International as Visitor Host, Dive Guardians, Teen Panel Event, and SMART MOMS, and is excited about focusing her attention as Temecula Old Town Rotary Club President on July 1, 2022, to 2023.

Lifetime Achievement – John & Christine McCusker
John and Christine McCusker have been exemplary citizens of Temecula since moving here in 1974. They opened their first school two short years later pursuing their passion to educate the youth of Temecula Valley. Aside from an outstanding education, their mission was to mold students into independent thinkers and instill in them core values like the importance of community involvement and the pursuit of philanthropic efforts. John and Christine have each received recognition and numerous honors over the years. As Riverside County ROP Principal of the year, Christine was proud of her efforts in helping H.E.A.R.T. bring the Latchkey programs to the T.V.U.S.D. and as co-chairs enacting the CCD program for St. Catherine’s – Temecula. Together they founded and chartered the first girl scout troop in the Temecula Valley. John and Christine were honored and graciously accepted the Elks Club Distinguished Citizen of the year Award. As active members of the Elks Club, they continue to bring awareness to education and promote the Elks Club Drug Awareness program among middle school-aged students.

The Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all of the attendees, nominees, candidates, sponsors, and special contributors for their commitment to the Chamber and their community. We thank you for your support and look forward to celebrating the citizens, non-profits and businesses in the Temecula Valley for years to come.

About Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce:
The Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization based in Temecula, CA. The Mission of the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce is to promote positive economic growth while protecting the environment for all business and by doing so, support the programs which preserve and improve the quality of life for the entire community. To learn more about the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce, please click here. For more information regarding upcoming events, please click here to view the events calendar or contact the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce at 951-676-5090 or email

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