As the award presentation drew to a close, Salinas mayor Dennis Donohue praised the grower. He recalled Tanimura’s response to a July 4, 2010, fire that caused $650,000 in damage to his home and the homes of neighbors. The blaze began on Tanimura’s roof; investigators suspected fireworks, and called it unintentional arson.
“It’s impossible to improve upon three words: brother, friend and partner,” Donohue said. “But I’d like to fill in one more word, neighbor. The Tanimuras had a tough Fourth of July last year. When I ran into George, he talked about his concern for his neighbors and the firefighters. That was no surprise.”