Three people who contributed to the community were praised Saturday at the 42nd Annual Awards Dinner hosted by St. John’s Knights of Columbus Council 5796.

Inside Pavalkis Hall at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, about 120 people came to dine on tri-tip steak or chicken cordon bleu and honor Milpitas police Officer of the Year Ed Gallardo, Firefighter of the Year Robert Kessler and Citizen of the Year Lawrence Ciardella.

“It was very successful,” Dem Nitafan, the Knights’ banquet chairman, said. “Everyone liked the dinner. We spent about an hour and a half on the awards ceremony.”

Larry Ciardella (center) was honored as the 2016 Citizen of the Year at the Knights of Columbus banquet on April 16. Here, Ciardella poses with past

Larry Ciardella (center) was honored as the 2016 Citizen of the Year at the Knights of Columbus banquet on April 16. Here, Ciardella poses with past Citizens of the Year recipients (from left) Frank De Smidt, Lou Horyza, Vice Mayor Carmen Montano, Althea Polanski, Denny Weisgerber, Harriett McGuire and Mayor Jose Esteves. Photo courtesy of Frank De Smidt.

“They all had a great time and there were excellent speeches given,” Nitafan said.

Past Milpitas Citizens of the Year recipients also attended. They included Vice Mayor Carmen Montano, Joseph Weinstein, Harriet McGuire, Lou Horyza and Mayor Jose Esteves, according to Nitafan.

He added that past winners of Milpitas police Officer of the Year and Firefighter of the Year also appeared.

Realtor Debbie Rossetto sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Nitafan said Assemblyman Kansen Chu, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese and representatives from state Sen. Bob Wieckowski’s office appeared. Congressman Mike Honda’s office sent commendations to the three honorees as well.

Ciardella, who moved to Milpitas in the late 1960s, has been a member of the California Air National Guard. Ciardella has also worked on community events such as the former Art and Wine Festival and the Fourth of July Parade. He’s also been an active member of the Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department.