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Story and Photos by Breeana Greenberg

Jody Marcon did her best to stay anonymous as she spread uplifting messages of hope and encouragement on surfboards throughout Dana Point near the outset of the pandemic in 2020.

But it was through a friend who let her identity slip that the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce was able to honor Macron for placing the boards of hope around town as its 2020 Citizen of the Year.

The Chamber held its annual Business Awards & Installation Dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at the Dana Point Yacht Club, where citizens and business leaders in the community were recognized for their work over the last couple of years.

“How else would messages of hope be scattered around a beach town here in sunny California that is known for its epic waves and laid-back coastal culture,” Dana Point City Manager Mike Killebrew asked during Wednesday night’s dinner. “On surfboards of course.”

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, Marcon left painted surfboards with messages like “Spread Hope not Fear,” “Be Well, Dana Point Strong,” “Mama Says: Stay Home, Stay Well, Be Cool,” and “Even when life seems uncertain, keep paddling,”

When the Dana Point Times reported on these mystery boards of hope in late-March of 2020, Marcon’s identity was still unknown.

Her son, John Marcon accepted the award on her behalf while she was on vacation—a fitting occurrence, John noted, as she worked hard to remain anonymous.

Because of the pandemic, the dinner wasn’t held in 2021 so the Chamber handed out awards to recipients for both 2020 and 2021. Awards highlighted citizens and businesses of the year, as well as Chamber Ambassador of the year.

“​​The recipients of the award are not publicity seekers,” Killebrew said. “Their satisfaction is knowing that their work made a difference in the lives of others in Dana Point, and honestly, in my words, that they affect positive change.”

“Their dedication, volunteerism, and passion have a tremendous impact on our community, local youth groups and nonprofit organizations,” he continued. “No one personifies this more than Jack Loconsolo from Jack’s Restaurant.”

The Dana Point Chamber of Commerce honored Jack Loconsolo as 2021 Citizen of the Year for his volunteer efforts throughout the pandemic. Loconsolo prepared more than 50 meals a week for the city’s senior services for homebound seniors.

Killebrew added that Loconsolo has been personally involved with and donates to the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9934, the Ocean Institute and more. Loconsolo was also instrumental in organizing the Del Prado Artwalk, which will return again this year, Killebrew said.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business in Dana Point for 31 years and I’ve never known the city to be more accessible and I’ve never known the business community to be more harmonious,” Loconsolo said. “Things are looking great for Dana Point.”

Loconsolo is also one of the few people to have won the Chamber’s awards for both Business of the Year and Citizen of the Year.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Wind and Sea was awarded 2020 Business of the Year.

“This restaurant is a people business. Without our employees, we couldn’t have done it, and they were all-stars for this entire year and our loyal customers.” Wind and Sea General Manager Jay Styles said. “There were no tourists coming into Dana Point to drink those Mai Tais, it was you guys.”

While introducing the category, Bryon Ward of the Dana Point Harbor Partners recalled the Monday during the pandemic that to-go cocktails became legal. Wind and Sea, he said, sold nearly 700 Mai Tais.

For more than 46 years, Dana Pont Hardware has operated in the city, with four generations working the counter over that time. On Wednesday night, the Chamber recognized the hardware store as the 2021 Business of the Year.

Through time and money, Dana Point Hardware has supported the Redo Vintage & Maker’s Market, Del Prado Artwalk and the Dana Point Classic Car Show. The store also supplied propane for heaters to restaurants that opened or expanded their outdoor dining operations during the pandemic.

“Whether it was (personal protection) equipment, cleaning supplies or a personal home improvement project, Dana Point Hardware was there every step of the way, providing supply or advice—and most of the time—both,” Ward said. “Dana Point Hardware is an iconic example of community, small, friendly, eclectic and stable. They love their fellow business community and are fierce advocates for small businesses in this community.”

Ward added that Dana Point Hardware employees are on a first-name basis with their customers and always have a treat ready when they come in with their dogs.

“They are proof that the values of yesterday can thrive today,” Ward said of the longstanding business.

The Chamber also installed its new board members with Marco Scognamiglio heading the group as its chair. Mayor Joe Muller, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett and representatives from the offices of Sen. Pat Bates and Assemblymember Laurie Davies honored outgoing Chair Ryan Krause with framed resolutions.

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at bgreenberg@picketfencemedia.com

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