We’re partnering with News Channel 12 to honor nonprofit volunteers who make our community thrive. Each month, we’re choosing a different nonprofit and asking them to select a valuable volunteer to receive the SESLOC Cares for Community Award. In April, we were thrilled to meet Teresa Rivas from Santa Maria Elks Recreation.
Teresa has lived in the rural town of Sisquoc her entire life. She is an 8th-generation California descendant from Juan Pacifico Ontiveros. Growing up, she went to Blochman Union School, Ernest Righetti High, and Alan Hancock College. After completing high school, she started working for Consolidated Water Company in Orcutt.
In 1970 she decided to marry her high school sweetheart John Rivas. They went on to have two daughters, Christy Rivas (Sarten) and Deanne Rivas (Gamble). After her daughters became school-age, she worked six years for Coast Welding Supply. Teresa decided to change occupations and got into the physical therapy industry. After 23 years of working for Santa Maria Valley Physical Therapy Group, she ended up retiring in 2007. Once she retired, she ended up taking a step back and working for her son-in-law at Ocean Front Farms until 2019.
Family has always been her pride and joy. She loves spending time with her family and friends. Rodeo is an integral part of her life. Her husband John competed in team roping events and her grandchildren have been involved with CCCA, WCJRA, and District 7 CHSRA.
As long as she can remember, Teresa has been part of the Elks rodeo. Her husband has participated in the slack and performances for many years. She was involved in running the Mini Rodeo and has watched all of her grandchildren compete at the Elks. Teresa has helped YOYO with their Elks Rodeo queen campaigns and her daughter Deanne was crowned the 1991 Elks Rodeo Queen. In recent years, she has worked side by side with Kristie Van Horn to put on nights to remember for the Golden Circle of Champions. Teresa has always said this project has been one of the most fulfilling programs to work on, knowing everything those families are going through. Seeing the joy and smiles on all of the kids’ faces is the most rewarding aspect of this volunteer work.
Teresa is the type of person to put everyone else ahead of her own needs and is the first person to jump to the occasion and assist anyone in need. Due to her dedication and extensive volunteerism, she has helped the Elks in more ways than one.
Please join us in congratulating Teresa and thanking her for her years of dedicated service in the Santa Maria Valley!