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Leon S. Peters Award

Bill Smittcamp named recipient of the 2017 Leon S. Peters Award

The Fresno Chamber of Commerce has selected longtime businessman Bill Smittcamp as the winner of the 2017 Leon S. Peters Award.

Smittcamp, who heads Wawona Frozen Foods, a leader in the frozen food industry, said he was humbled to receive the same award that was given to his father, the late Earl Smittcamp, in 1993.

The annual award recognizes an individual for their accomplishments, leadership and commitment to the community.

“I am truly honored,” Smittcamp said, after being surprised with the news at Valley Children’s Hospital on Friday. “There is a tremendous group of individuals that have mentored me and that I have watched. I have so many to thank.”

Smittcamp serves as chairman of the board of trustees at Valley Children’s Hospital and is on the boards of the CSU Fresno FoundationCentral Valley Community BankGarfield Water District and Fresno Food Expo Advisory Committee.

Todd Suntrapak, chief executive officer of Valley Children’s Hospital, praised Smittcamp for his dedication to the organization. Smittcamp has served an unprecedented four times as board president.

“Every time we needed him, he said yes,” Suntrapak said.

Smittcamp said he owes much to the hospital and the community it serves: “I love this place and I am blessed that I am able to give back.”

Surrounded by former award winners, Smittcamp said he felt as though he did not deserve the honor. To which Judge Robert Oliver quickly replied, “Objection, overruled.”

Blake Smittcamp, one of three Smittcamp children, said he is proud of his father and mother, Linda, for the work they do in the community.

“We see the work he does and the time he puts into the things he is involved in,” Blake Smittcamp said.

As head of Wawona Frozen Foods, Bill Smittcamp has turned the company into the largest frozen peach processor in the U.S., processing more than 75 million pounds of peaches and 20 million pounds of strawberries and other fruits.

The Peters award, established in 1984, is named for the former owner of Valley Foundry and Machine Works. Peters was a noted philanthropist in Fresno and the central San Joaquin Valley.