Morro Bay’s “Citizen of the Year for 2020” is a tireless volunteer leading efforts to preserve open space, as well as the town’s history.
The “2020 Living Treasure Award” winner has been a leader in the fishing industry for many years both locally and on the State and Federal levels.
And the “Business of the Year” winner has been dedicated to people’s physical wellness, assisting the high school’s sports programs and a leading fundraiser for a signature surf camp for the handicapped.
Glen Silloway was honored as the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year for 2020. Chamber CEO Erica Crawford, said, “Silloway moved to Morro Bay from Minnesota in 2003. He is a political scientist by training, a marketer by occupation, and a conservation supporter by conviction.”
Silloway has immersed himself in several nonprofit endeavors.
“He is active in the League of Women Voters,” Crawford said, “and is one of the founders of the Morro Bay Open Space Alliance that was initially formed to reimburse the City for the purchase of the Cerrito Peak open space.”
He’s been “instrumental in bringing new life to the Morro Bay Historical Society,” Crawford said, serving on the Board of Directors. Silloway owned Net Sells, an Internet marketing company and served on the City’s General Plan Advisory Committee. He also volunteers with Morro Bay in Bloom, a local beautification group.
Jeremiah O’Brien was named the Living Treasure Award winner.
Boat Capt. O’Brien “is the face of Morro Bay commercial fishing and the person everyone goes to when they need information, have questions or want advice on anything related to fishing, harbor or marine-oriented issues,” Crawford said.
O’Brien, skipper of the CFV Aguero, came to Morro Bay in 1980 to help renovate “Bloody Brown’s Morro Beach Inn,” transforming it into the “Moose Jaw,” that eventually became “The Buoy Bar” that closed a couple of years ago but is being renovated once again.
He first went salmon fishing in 1982, fulfilling a calling from the sea that he’s always harbored.
He and Randy Kann, formerly a Morro Bay fisher, built an abalone dive boat and hunted sea mollusks for seven years from San Diego to Pt. Arena. He’s owned three fishing boats and his current one, the Aguero, he bought in 1997. His wife of nearly three decades, Trudy, herself from a fisher family, worked side-by-side with her husband for some 14 years and has supported his advocating on behalf of the fishing industry.
Over the years, he’s found himself engrossed more and more in the politics of fishing, testifying before Congress, the National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Fisheries Management Council, State Fish & Game and serving as the fishing representative during the Marine Protected Areas program’s run-up.
National Fisherman Magazine honored O’Brien in 2015 with a “Highliner Award” for his many years of advocacy for the fishing industry.
O’Brien has been a board member and past president of the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization and sits on the Morro Bay Quota Fund board, despite being initially against the “catch shares” system of allocating a limited local groundfish harvest. He’s also currently serving on the City’s Harbor Advisory Board, representing commercial fishers.
“Serving in these leadership positions,” Crawford said, “has given him significant experience and contacts within the commercial fishing industry, public agencies, other nonprofits and the business community, providing direct connectivity with the needs and perspectives of the Morro Bay region.
“Capt. O’Brien has over 30 years of fishing experience, directly or indirectly, in just about all west coast fisheries and is one of the most widely recognized representatives of commercial fishing in the state of California.”
The Chamber named San Luis Sports Therapy as the “Business of the Year.”
Located at the corner of Shasta Avenue and Harbor Street, SL Sports Therapy has been a staple of the local health care industry for many years, assisting an aged population with its aches and pains and recovery from injury.
Owner Michael Williams has volunteered his time for many years as an athletic trainer with Morro Bay High’s football program and to hold a successful annual fundraiser for the program.
The business has, in recent years, become involved with Operation Surf Camp, a nonprofit group that puts on beach camps for people with special needs.
For the past eight years, San Luis Sports Therapy has also held an annual fundraiser for the Surf Camp, raising an amazing $12,000 in one afternoon last summer.