Viola Blythe Award winners to be recognized Wednesday

When Viola Blythe founded her small charity in 1950, she had no idea that its successful run would aid countless East Bay residents and be celebrated for decades to come.

Blythe, who lived and worked in Newark, just wanted to help those in need, and she did exactly that until her death in 2002.

Her spirit of giving lives on in the Viola Blythe Awards, held each year to reward Newark’s most dedicated volunteers. The 28th annual ceremony is scheduled Wednesday evening at the Hilton Newark-Fremont, where the winners from each category will be announced.

“The city is very thankful to all its volunteers, and we have so many pitching in,” said Laurie Gebhard, a Newark city official. “We’ve had a lot of budget cuts in the past six or seven years, so they’ve provided services that, otherwise, we might not be able to provide.”


Chris DeBenedetti