Pacific Athletics staff member receives key to the city of Stockton

Linda Vasquez with Veterans

World War II veterans Major Bill White and Frank Wright are with Linda Vasquez at a Valentine Day Cards for Veterans event.

Linda Vasquez is a nonstop dynamo when it comes to supporting veterans and community outreach, and her efforts have been rewarded with a key to the city of Stockton.

Vasquez, an administrative assistant for Pacific Athletics, said she was shocked when Stockton City Councilmember Sol Jobrack told her of the honor.

“It certainly was a surprise, and something I did not expect,” Vasquez said. “But I am very appreciative. I love the city of Stockton and I want to help people in our community.”

Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln asked all seven city council members to select a key to the city recipient. Jobrack, council member for District 1—where Vasquez lives—named her.

“I really like the concept that the mayor came up with—to honor people who may not always get credit for the great things they do,” Jobrack said. “That certainly is the case with Linda. I am constantly hearing in my district from people praising the work that Linda does on so many events and projects. She has a sincere desire to help others whenever possible. Linda is very deserving of her key to the city.”

The key will be presented to Vasquez at a cookout at Stockton’s Karl Ross American Legion Post 16 on July 9. Given her dedication to helping veterans, the site is appropriate.

“I have so much respect and love for veterans and I want to do everything I can to help them,” Vasquez said. “When it comes to veterans, I just cannot say no.”

Vasquez organizes the annual Fourth of July Parade in Stockton. She also serves as events coordinator for the United Veterans Council of San Joaquin County.

Vasquez played an integral part in the Vietnam Moving Wall coming to Stockton twice in recent years. The wall is a half-sized replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., with the names engraved of those who lost their lives in the war.

“When I was in high school, the Vietnam War was always on television. I have a special place in my heart for Vietnam veterans,” Vasquez said. “I wore a POW (Prisoner of War) and MIA (Missing in Action) bracelet. I was so fortunate that the person’s name on my bracelet was able to come home. His name was William Shankle and I was able to meet him.”

Her community involvement increased when she worked for the Stockton Thunder (now Stockton Heat) minor league hockey team for eight years. She was a member of the United Way Community Council and served on the board of directors for United Way of San Joaquin County.

Her dedicated outreach continued when she started work with Pacific Athletics six years ago as an administrative assistant for the men’s and women’s basketball programs. She later moved into her current role supporting the overall athletics department.

“I have been fortunate to have jobs where community service and outreach is a priority,” Vasquez said.

Linda Vasquez with a quilt

Quilts of Honor bestows beautiful quilts to combat veterans. The organization surprised Linda Vasquez with a quilt, thanking her for tireless and caring work with veterans.

During the pandemic, she helped Pacific Athletics work with minor league sports teams in Stockton on food drives for those in need.

At Pacific, she has helped support athletes, coaches and staff during a pandemic year filled with uncertainty and hardships, but also including success on and off the field. Pacific student-athletes had a cumulative 3.30 grade-point average in the 202021 school year.

“It was very difficult for our student athletes,” Vasquez said. “They would get prepared for a game, and then the other team would test positive and the game was off. It was tough on everyone. But everyone worked together and made the most of a difficult situation. I’m very proud of the way we all handled this.”

Vasquez said receiving the key to the city is a big life moment that she is sharing with her husband Hector and blended family of five children (Monique, Christopher, Melissa, Julie and Nicole).

“My kids were all very excited about it,” Vasquez said with a smile. “They want to know what the key will open.”