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January 2012 Community Award Winner - Bert George

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks

This season, the Sharks Foundation has established the "Sharks Foundation Community Award" which will be given to an individual, business or group that exemplifies the mission of the Sharks Foundation to enhance the lives of youth and families in our local area. These community all-stars have gone above and beyond to help the Sharks Foundation and assist those in need.

The recently held "Sampling with the Sharks" wine tasting fundraiser brought in more than $100,000 for the Sharks Foundation. Bert George deserves much of the credit for its success. Bert, who fused his passions of wine, hockey and philanthropy, helped establish the event in 2008 and has been instrumental in its growth over the years. Whether it's coordinating the wineries, providing gift items, or donating proceeds from the wine sales, Bert is always willing to assist the Sharks Foundation when needed. It's no surprise, as Bert and his family have been active members of the community for decades now. Please join us in recognizing and congratulating the most recent Sharks Foundation Community Award winner, Bert George.

When did you and your family first come to the area? Explain a little bit about your job background, what you do, why you do it.
Our family came to San Jose in the mid 1930's and we've been in the wine business for 72 years here in the Valley. I'm the President of Joseph George Distributor and third generation in the business. I followed in the footsteps of my grandfather, Joseph George, who founded the company and my father, Glenn George, who brought the company to great heights.

How did you first become a Sharks fan?
We went to the first game at the new San Jose Arena (now HP Pavilion) and I was absolutely hooked!

What is your most memorable Sharks moment?
There's a lot to choose from, but I have to say beating the Detroit Red Wings in the 1993 season.

How do you help the community besides supporting the Sharks Foundation?
Community has always been a big part of my life. Giving back to the community is only fitting…without community, we wouldn't be here. My grandfather, father and I were presidents of the San Jose Rotary Club and have been deeply involved in numerous non-profits such as the Boy Scouts, United Way, YMCA/YWCA, and many more charities. We give to over 100 different organizations each year.

Why do you support the Sharks Foundation?
I support the Sharks foundation because I believe that giving to one great organization that specializes in addressing children's needs and spreads my money out helps us all. Plus, who wouldn't want to be associated with a professional sports franchise that really cares about giving back?

How would you inspire others to support the Sharks Foundation?
The "shotgun" approach of giving works best in my opinion...give to the Sharks Foundation and they will determine the best way to disperse the money throughout the community.

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