San Rafael officials have named Carolyn Lenert the 10th recipient of the Richard P. O'Brien and Mary Ferrario O'Brien Citizen of the Year Award.  The City Council honored Lenert, president of the Santa Margarita Neighborhood Association and current fire commissioner, with a resolution of appreciation in a ceremony Monday night.

A selection committee of council members, planning commissioners, a member of the O'Brien family and representatives of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, Federation of San Rafael Neighborhoods and North San Rafael Coalition chose Lenert from a pool of 16 nominees.

She will receive a $2,500 cash award and special recognition on April 8 at the San Rafael State of the City dinner.

In addition to her work as a fire commissioner, Lenert has been active in disaster preparedness, volunteering for Community Emergency Response Team efforts and co-founding the Marin County CERT Coalition, according to a report given to the City Council.

Lenert created the Terra Linda Wind magazine and continues to serve as its editor, working with high school students to spread information on local events and history. 


She also was heavily involved in the "Safe Passage along Lucas Valley Road" project, which improved pedestrian and bicycle access in the area. 

"Carolyn has contributed countless hours coordinating outreach, sharing resources and disseminating information to local residents on issues of community concern," the report said. 

San Rafael fire Chief Chris Gray said Lenert has often served as a link between the fire department and community.  "She's been a staunch advocate of emergency preparedness and training, and she's been very effective at the neighborhood level, which is where it counts," Gray said. "She also is not only an ambassador of safety services, but she's an important link to the neighborhoods and the community."

Created in March 2001 with an endowment in honor of former planning commissioner Richard O'Brien and his wife, Mary Ferrario O'Brien, the annual Citizen of the Year award recognizes a person in San Rafael "who has made exceptional contributions to the city, making it a better place to live or work."

Past recipients include Margie Belrose, executive director of the performing arts 
school and theater The Belrose; Patty Garbarino, president of Marin Sanitary Service; artist Phyllis Thelen and her husband Max for their work with the nonprofit group Art Works Downtown; the late San Rafael historian Lionel
Ashcroft; and volunteer Sandy Greenblat. 

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Mayor Al Boro reads Carolyn Lenert's many accomplishments that enabled the committee to select her for the award while Councilmembers Greg Brockbank and Barbara Heller express their agreement.