Former Fresno County Supervisor Stan Oken is being honored with the 2023 Leader For America Award for his dedication to public service and youth development.
The award is being given out by The CrisCom Company, a nationwide governmental affairs, business development, grant writing and public relations firm that started the award in 2007.
The backstory: Oken, born in Chicago in 1928, served in the U.S. Army in Japan and built bridges through baseball clinics and goodwill missions.
- He went on to coach youth sports for 19 years and founded Western Camps Inc. in 1967, which is a summer camp dedicated to nurturing self-worth and resilience in children. The camps host children from up to 20 foreign countries annually.
- Oken acquired complete ownership of Western Camps Inc. and purchased Wonder Valley Ranch, expanding from 17 rooms and four employees to 70 rooms with over 220 employees during peak seasons.
- The Oken family subsidizes about 70 percent of the costs for around 200 children.
- Oken was elected to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in 1991, going on to serve three terms in office.
Driving the news: The Leader For America award honors and recognizes people who have made a tremendous impact to the nation.
- The CrisCom Company will present the award on Nov. 9 at Wonder Valley Ranch Resort.
What they’re saying: “Stan Oken’s life has been defined by his dedication to serving his community and empowering the next generation,” said CrisCom CEO Chuck Jelloian. “It is a privilege to honor Stan for a life well done.”