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Jack Gaughan, of Brentwood, the Brentwood Citizen of the Year, welcomes guests to Brentwood Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year dinner at Trilogy in Brentwood, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. Gaughan serves as president of the Arts Commission, is a Rotarian and serves on the board of directors for the Police Activities League. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Bay Area News Group)

BRENTWOOD -- It was a celebration fit for a king.

Or Drake the butler, Jacob, the father in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," or one of the many other characters Jack Gaughan has brought to life in local plays.

For his tireless advocacy for the arts and community service, Gaughan, a self-proclaimed "arts-a-holic," was awarded Brentwood's Citizen of the Year.

"As you know, I'm dedicated to community and to service. Those are two great words. You are all people dedicated to community and to service," said a tuxedo-clad Gaughan to the more than 150 in attendance at Trilogy at the Vineyards, including wife Betty, three children and grandchildren.

Brentwood drew on its agricultural roots in naming country store Gursky Ranch the business of the year.

The five-generation family store on Apricot Way, known for its walnuts, cashews, and almonds grown on site, also supports Rotary and Relay for Life efforts.

"(Brentwood's) been an amazing place for me to grow up.

"That's something, that I think is the most rewarding for me personally, is that a farm or ag-related business won in a farm or ag-related town," Steve Gursky said.

He also reflected on what the award means given that dad Roy passed away from cancer in 2009, and the work done by mom Lynn to keep the three acre farm going.

"I think he'd be really impressed with the way that mom has carried on the business."


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"This family has heart, and this family cares," added Mayor Bob Taylor, who spoke about knowing the family for years.

The lighthearted event included slide shows of both the Gaughans and the Gursky families over the years.

Gaughan founded the Brentwood Theater Company, was the driving force in starting the Broadway Under the Stars series, along with artistic director Steve Kinsella, in 2010, and he opened and operated The Gallery on Second as a showcase for local artists. He is now raising money to purchase the former Immaculate Heart of Mary church site to relocate a theater there where the Brentwood Theater Company could perform some of its shows.

The 12-year city resident and recipient of the Artist of the Year award in 2012 also served as chair of the Brentwood Arts Commission, and currently sits on the board of directors of the Brentwood Art Society and is a member of the Art Guild of the Delta.

He is also highly involved in the Brentwood Police Activities League and Rotary.

"Jack brings mystic and magic.

"Anyone who's involved in the arts, when you can transform people on the stage, when you can look at an art piece and see vision and know what it's all about, that's magic," Taylor said. "He even looks magic."

Steve Kinsella, who worked with Gaughan on Broadway with the Stars, added: "We've all benefitted from his hard work, dedication and leadership."

"You all do the same things I do in different disciplines, and I say keep on doing it, because the community needs us," Gaughan said.

"I believe that a community with arts and culture has a better quality of life, and I'm happy and honored to contribute to that."

The event also included 13 Brentwood Citizens of the Year from years past forming a choir, and twin teenage sisters, Charlotte and Bridgette Kinsella, serenading the crowd.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.