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Gwynn humbled to join family line of top citizens
Bruce Gwynn has followed the Yuma Sun's Yuma County Citizen of the Year award for a long time. After all, both of his parents earned it, along with his older brother. His grandfather, Yuma pioneer E.F. Sanguinetti, got an even bigger special title with Citizen of the Century.
He didn't think about getting Citizen of the Year himself, though. But this year was his year.
Gwynn said Tuesday he was surprised, pleased and humbled to be recognized for his contributions.
His involvement in Yuma is extensive, covering business, agricultural, historical and philanthropic pursuits.
“You just do what's in front of you and do what's right,” he said Tuesday, calling it a lesson he learned from his parents, the late Howard and Rosemarie Sanguinetti Gwynn, along with his brother, Howard Gwynn III, and wife, Debra.
Gwynn has had a lot in front of him. His civic resume includes serving as co-founder and co-chair of the Yuma Ag Summit, co-chair of Redondo Days, a founding member of the Yuma County Ag Producers Scholarship Program, a member and president of the Yuma Union High School District Governing Board, a member of the Arizona Department of Agriculture Advisory Board and a past president of the Arizona Crop Protection Association.
He also is or has been on the boards of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Habitat for Humanity, the Yuma County Cooperative Extension, University of Arizona Ag 100, UA College of Agricultural Alumni and Yuma Friends of UA Health Services. He even spent many years as a rodeo clown for the Hospice of Yuma Roping Roundup.
With his wife, Gwynn currently runs The Garden Cafe, located in downtown Yuma next to the Sanguinetti House Museum. In addition to being a part of the influential Sanguinetti clan, he is also a great-grandson of Jose Maria Redondo, another Yuma pioneer.
Gwynn was awake early on Tuesday, preparing to visit a friend in Phoenix, when he opened the newspaper. He saw “Gwynn” in a headline and at first thought his brother had been honored for something.
“My mother got it, my father got it, I thought it was pretty neat,” he said. “My brother got it and I thought it was really neat.”
When he got it himself, it was “very, very, very nice.”
Gwynn said he fielded calls, text messages and emails all day brimming with congratulations. Although he often hears from his brother, he said the call they shared about the honor was special, with his brother obviously “tickled.” He said he thought of his wife, and his late, lifelong best friend, Ed Giermann, as he soaked in the news.
He said a lot of people work to make Yuma a good place to live, and plenty of those people deserve to be Citizen of the Year.
And again, he mentions those that came before him as Yuma citizens of the year and who served as his own role models: mother Rosemarie (honored in 1965), father Howard (in 1968) and brother Howard (in 1994).
“To be in the same company as my mother, father and my brother is pretty nifty. It is pretty heartwarming”
Hillary Davis can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.