Remember the old Beach Boys tune, "Be True to Your School?"
It starts out like this: "When some braggart tries to put me down; And says his school is great; I tell him right away; Now what's the matter buddy; Ain't you heard of my school?; It's number one in the state."
That sounds like a conversation you might have with the Rancho Cordovan of the Year, Conrade Mayer.
Is there anybody in Rancho Cordova that does NOT know Conrade Mayer? This man wears a lot of hats.
Like a lot of people in Rancho Cordova, he's an Air Force brat whose Dad brought the family to Rancho Cordova via Mather Air Force Base. But long after Mather has closed, Conrade Mayer is still being true to his school.
The Mayer family is a stalwart of the old Cordova Villa neighborhood, where Conrade grew up and went to school. He moved on to Cordova High School where, like the song says, he "got a letterman's sweater with a letter in front" for football and track.
He was a wizard under the hood even then, so it was not a surprise when he went on to became a crack auto mechanic with a skill for problem-solving.
But even as he pursued his career, got married and became a real Rancho Cordova grown up there was a part of Conrade that never left Cordova High.
He continued to keep his class of 1979 close, bringing them together for reunions with a purpose, raising money to buy extras for Cordova High. This legacy of being true to his school continues on, even today.
Over the years, Conrade's contributions have evolved and expanded into new areas and interests.
- He was a leader in the passage and oversight of school fix-up bonds totaling more than $200 million dollars.
- He was president of PTAs at elementary and middle school levels -- even after his own son moved on to high school and graduation.
- He helped his wife Melody launch the Rancho Cordova Relay for Life movement, raising thousands of dollars for cancer research.
- He served as a board member of the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce and was even honored as the Chamber's "Citizen of the Year" in 2007.
- He has been a dedicated supporter of many Rancho Cordova efforts, including the Incorporation of Rancho Cordova.
- Conrade has served on the executive committee of the Rancho Cordova Fourth of July, was on the board of the Cordova Community Council and chaired previous awards events just like tonight's.
- He is a past president of the Rancho Cordova Rotary Club and a leader in Rotary District affairs, particularly those devoted to youth.
- Prior to the incorporation of Rancho Cordova, he was a two-time Honorary Mayor of Rancho Cordova, raising thousands of dollars to purchase school supplies for local schools.
- He is a longtime member of the Friends of Cordova Parks.
While his range of interests is wide, he has always drifted back to his particular passion: developing the potential in teenagers in our community.
- He was a founding member of the Rancho Cordova Police Activities League
- He guided the development of Cordova High School's Interact Club, the high school organization of Rancho Cordova Rotary Club, mentoring it into a force within both the school and the community.
- He is a leader in regional Rotary youth programs
- He is a well-known figure at Cordova High for his involvement in the OK Program for African-American males and volunteer track coach and more.
And so it goes. He is a man of many hats.
A few years back as Conrade traded in his mechanics tools for a new real estate career, he somehow got dubbed the "Kevin Bacon of Rancho Cordova."
That was a reference to the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon - a trivia game based on the concept that it's a small world and anybody in the movie biz can be linked to the actor Kevin Bacon in six steps.
In Rancho Cordova, so the game goes, you can get to Conrade Mayer from anywhere and anybody in six steps - and probably less.
It may be sufficient to say that Conrade Mayer is a rich mix of talent and heart; a dedicated father and husband and the personification of what the Beach Boys had in mind while writing that classic tune, "Be True to Your School."
Conrade, has certainly been that. Cordova High School is a better place because of him -- and so is the rest of Rancho Cordova.
Tonight we add to his laurels the prestigious designation earned by only a few, honoring a lifetime of dedication to our town: Rancho Cordovan of the Year.
Conrade Mayer, man of many hats. Congratulations!