Gilroy Today 2012 12 Winter - Page 29

Above: Rob Hoffmann at DreamPower Horsemanship Right: Rob with his wife, Val at the Gilroy Foundation’s Paradise Found fundraiser. Everyone has a story… meet Rob Hoffmann By Kelly Barbazette A cyclist, food connoisseur, volunteer and traveler, Rob Hoffmann is a man of many passions. One day he can be found cleaning horse stalls and the next, riding his Harley-Davidson to San Juan Bautista before cooking a feast for friends.“I love to cook and drink wine,” Rob, 48, said. He and his wife Val moved to Gilroy eight years ago from Southern California and settled right in, adopting Ninja Sushi, Westside Grill - and more recently the Milias Restaurant - as their favorite restaurants. Val even has a roll named after her at Ninja Sushi – a spicy concoction of chopped jalapeno, tuna, albacore and eel.“We always see someone we know there,” Rob says. Rob recalls helping his mom in the kitchen while growing up in Milwaukee. He took cooking classes in high school and in the Philippines with his Mom and sister. He is now comfortable cooking all cuisines, especially grilling steaks and tenderloins. It’s not uncommon for him to smoke chicken or ribs for friends on the weekends. Through the week, Rob’s Harley takes him to Monterey where he works as the Sales Operations Manager for Value Added Sales, including the bagged salads, for Dole Fresh Vegetables. Twice a year, Rob and Val return home to visit family and go to a Green Bay Packers game. Val’s parents live in Green Bay, four blocks from Lambeau Field. Rob and Val met at Marquette University, where he was earning an MBA in international business. Rob concedes that he has become a Giants fan since moving to Gilroy. They also enjoy returning each summer to Milwaukee for Summerfest, the world’s largest outdoor musical festival. But the couple’s leisure time isn’t just spent traveling. Both Rob and Val, who celebrated seven years of marriage in November, enjoy giving back to their community. They both volunteer at DreamPower Horsemanship, a non-profit group in Gilroy that provides therapeutic horsemanship programs to hundreds of children and adults. Val’s love of horses drew them to DreamPower’s spaghetti feed one year. Val’s mother rode in the rodeo in Washington when Val was a child. Rob and Val help find sponsorships and auction items for DreamPower’s events – including the group’s main fundraiser, “Wine, Dine & Equine,” which is held each July. Last year, they donated three dinners to the event’s auction. And Rob credits cleaning horse stalls and hauling horse manure at DreamPower Horsemanship’s farm on the weekends for helping him shed 40 pounds last year. “I would be soaked from head to toe and would do (a 50-yard dash) four to five times a day with a 150-pound wheelbarrow,” Rob said. Continued on page 39 W I N T E R / H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 2 G I L R O Y T O D A Y 29