John Rader is no joke

 John Rader recently joked that he won the Man of the Year award after nominating himself 13 years in a row.

“I’ve been in town 13 years and have been nominated most of the years, so I think I wore down the past winners, even though I didn’t do anything special last year,” said Rader.

All joking aside, Rader makes it a point to help the community through his work through the Rotary Club and his employment as business development and marketing coordinator at Barstow Community Hospital. He was honored for his community service by winning the Man of Year award at the Barstow Community Awards last month.

One of Rader’s biggest achievements with the Rotary Club is coordinating the Dictionary Project, which distributes a dictionary to every third grader in Barstow Unified School District, Silver Valley Unified School District, and private school in the area. The Rotary Club sponsors the project, with an average of 800 dictionaries going out to students each year.

Jan Morrow, who first brought the project to Barstow, said Rader helps coordinate the Rotary Club members who distribute the dictionaries and helps Morrow find out how many dictionaries will be needed.

“John is my right arm,” said Morrow. “I could not do this job without John.”

Rader feels dictionaries are still very important to children living in Barstow and the surrounding areas, who may not have access to computers or the Internet and may not even have a book of their own at home.

“Their faces light up when they know they have their own book they can take home,” said Rader.

Although part of Rader’s job at the hospital is to ensure healthy living, he said health and fitness is his passion. Through his work at the hospital, Rader has helped the community through various programs and workshops with a focus on healthy eating habits and becoming more active, such as the Barstow Walks Around the World pedometer challenge, the “Lose to Win” weight-loss challenge, and the Kids Care Fair — which offers free immunizations and health examinations to children.

Rader is working on a new smoking cessation program that will begin this fall at BCH. The program will offer participants nicotine gum or patches, a consultation with a lung specialist, and a support system where an individual smoker can pick a mentor that they can call if they are tempted to smoke.

Rader has become well-known in the community and is often asked to help with other projects. He is currently working with Pastor Charles Mattix of Crossroads Assembly of God on a Sept. 11 memorial service that will observe the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Mattix has already commissioned the American Veteran’s Traveling Tribute, which is a 360-foot long replica of the Vietnam Wall. The Traveling Tribute honors veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, as well as civil servants such as police officers and firefighters who died during the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mattix said Rader is helping coordinate and spread the word about the event, which will involve a large majority of the community.

“We need all the help we can get to coordinate this huge event,” said Mattix. “(Rader has) been a tremendous help already.”