ALBANY -- When the Albany Chamber of Commerce names its Citizen of the Year, the honoree normally gets to ride in a special car in the parade at the Solano Stroll.
This year, Caryl O'Keefe received the honor, but had a long-planned wedding to attend. She was delighted when she found out the car with her name on the side was still in the parade and even more delighted to find out K2TOG owner and chamber President Ellen Graves was at the wheel.
"I thought maybe people would think it was me," she joked.
O'Keefe will be honored at a dinner at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Solano Grill & Bar. Also being honored is Youth of the Year Thalia Tom. Contact the Chamber at 510-525-1771 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
O'Keefe's list of activities in Albany is an impressive one. The retired U.S. Bureau of Labor economist has served on the Chamber of Commerce, the library board, Friends of the Albany Library, the local YMCA, the city's Sustainability Committee, the Measure E oversight committee for the Albany Unified School District, the Albany Community Foundation and the Rotary Club of Albany.
She also ran for City Council twice and is a regular participant at public meetings.
The bulk of her community service, apart from the two library groups, has come since she retired in 2006.
At the Bureau of Labor, O'Keefe was an operations manager working to collect data from 10 western states that helped make up the Consumer Price Index.
"It was mostly trying to understand why some people got paid what they did or why prices had changed or why products had changed," O'Keefe said. "It was really trying to make the most sense of the data we received."
O'Keefe and husband Alan Riffer have two grown children and, "the world's most perfect granddaughter, who lives in Brooklyn."
O'Keefe said for fun, she likes to participate in various programs at the Albany YMCA.
"I'm at the library a lot," she added. "I like to read as well as sell books and sort books. My husband and I have taken many kinds of dance lessons. And we play bridge every week. That is an important part of our entertainment is our weekly bridge games."