By Kathy Chouteau
Richmond’s “godfather” was honored with a proclamation from the City Council on Tuesday for his decades of community service and his recent retirement from Sims Metal Management, where he worked for nearly 50 years.
Jerrold Hatchett received the honor at the City Council’s meeting Tuesday, during which each councilmember expressed their appreciation for his community contributions. Hatchett retired from his role as Sims’ Northern California community relations director at the end of January but plans to continue his community activities.
“I don’t know how somebody as young as Jerrold can have 50 years of service; I’d like for somebody to check that math,” joked Mayor Tom Butt at the meeting. It’s been a pleasure to work with him on many, many things over the years.”
Mayor Butt acknowledged Hatchett for starting the city’s Juneteenth celebration, which he said “has grown and grown over the years and become one of Richmond’s premier cultural festivals that we’re all so proud of, so thank you Jerrold.”
Aside from spearheading Richmond’s Juneteenth celebration, Hatchett is fondly known for playing Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny at holiday events for numerous organizations. He’s also supported the BMW Golf Tournament since its inception and “has won the hearts of many through his constant dedication and efforts to support local organizations, programs and community events,” per the proclamation’s documents.
Hatchett has also received multiple awards for his community contributions, including “Humanitarian of the Year,” awarded by former Richmond Mayor Irma Anderson, according to the proclamation.
Regarding his long career at Sims, where he served as the company’s Northern California community relations director, Hatchett was described in proclamation documents as representing his company “as a good neighbor for decades.” He was noted for painting houses, laying bricks and making repairs for those in need on Saturdays with his crew. Under his direction, a wooden stage was built which countless community organizations and nonprofits have used for events.
While at the company, Hatchett also developed Sims’ Summer Intern Program and collaborated with the City to offer summer jobs to youth, per the proclamation.
“To be on a job for 50 years—that is amazing,” said Vice Mayor Nathaniel Bates. “Jerrold has been an instrumental individual in this community. Everyone loves him. He is the ‘godfather’ and we certainly appreciate all you’ve done.”
After receiving his proclamation and posting for pictures with City councilmembers, Hatchett made some brief remarks. Reflecting on his storied career at Sims, he said, “Every day was a good day for me.”
“I want to thank everybody for coming out,” Hatchett added. “You know where my heart is—I love Richmond.” I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you and thank you very much.”