2017-05-19 / Community

Woman of the Year always answers the call for community involvement

Plaks feted at award luncheon
By Caitlin Trude

ADVOCATE—The Moorpark Chamber of Commerce tapped Linda Plaks as Woman of the Year on May 16. 
MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers ADVOCATE—The Moorpark Chamber of Commerce tapped Linda Plaks as Woman of the Year on May 16. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Linda Plaks has watched her hometown of Moorpark change and grow since she moved here in 1978.

Over those 39 years, Plaks said she’s enjoyed seeing the city mature and earn a reputation as a great place to raise a family. But even better, she’s noticed a sizable uptick in the number of volunteers pitching in at the countless community events around town.

“Sometime back, it pretty much was the same (volunteers) having to juggle every kind of item,” said Plaks, 71. “But it’s turned into great community involvement. There’s always room for more (volunteers). It’s just opened the doors for many other people to step up and get involved.”

Plaks has devoted much of her time to clubs and organizations in the community, such as the Moorpark Rotary and Boys & Girls clubs, Moorpark High School’s band boosters, the Moorpark Chamber of Commerce and Moorpark Historical Society.

To honor her service, Plaks was named Woman of the Year at the Chamber of Commerce’s Community Awards Luncheon at the Moorpark Country Club on Tuesday.

“I was surprised only because there’s so many other deserving women in the community, but it is an honor,” Plaks said, adding that she was unsure who nominated her for the recognition. “I don’t do it for awards. I do it more for rewards to make somebody’s life a little better. It helps make me feel a little better.”

Plaks and her husband, Harvey, moved to Moorpark in hopes of finding ample property for daughter Jill’s horse. The couple ended up buying three-quarters of an acre on Mira Sol, where they still live.

In the 1980s, Linda Plaks opened a small video rental store on High Street called Moorpark Video, which later moved to a storefront along Los Angeles Avenue.

During that time, Plaks got more involved in the Moorpark community. She became an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and later was elected the first female president of the Moorpark Rotary Club.

In the late 1990s, the popularity of big-name video rental stores like Blockbuster prompted Plaks to sell her business.

She then made a career switch by becoming a state background investigator and worked for her husband’s private firm, Valley Investigations.

Though Plaks considers herself “semi-retired” from her husband’s business, she enjoys dedicating her time to various service groups around Moorpark.

Plaks said working on the Boys & Girls Club’s annual auction gala is one of her favorite activities. She also likes raising funds for Moorpark High School scholarships, Little League, Catholic Charities and music programs throughout the city.

“Every single year depending on how successful our fundraising is, it’s great to see the different groups that we can help out financially,” she said.

“What I enjoy (about volunteering) is I like to give back to the community. This community has been really good to me over the years. I think it’s good for people to take a part in what Moorpark’s all about.”

Moorpark Chamber president Dale Parvin wasn’t surprised to learn that Plaks was named Woman of the Year.

Over his 20-year friendship with Plaks, he’s admired her hardworking spirit whenever she lent a hand to the Civil War Reenactment, Moorpark Mammoth Run and the Third of July Fireworks Extravaganza.

“ Linda never says no when it comes to volunteering,” Parvin said. “She just says ‘yes.’”

And the winners are…

Other Community Award recipients include Floyd Martin and Diane Weis (Educators of the Year), Lyle Pennington (Active Adult of the Year), Rebecca Purnell (Public Servant of the Year) and Margaret Stafford (Volunteer of the Year).

Emily Johnson was named Youth of the Year in the 15-to- 21-age category and Johnny Wotawa in the 14-and-under category.

The Hometown Hero Award went to Mindy Yaras and the Legend Award to Mayor Janice Parvin. Bruce Rokos was named Man of the Year.

The Rotary Club of Moorpark was honored as Organization of the Year.

To see photos of the Community Awards Luncheon, go to page 14.

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