Nearly 500 people watched as former Sacramento Bee editorial writer Ginger Rutland received the Access Sacramento “Power of Voice” Award Thursday evening in tribute for her long career of supporting free speech and the community voice.

Ginger Rutland holds the "Power of Voice" award as Access Sacramento's JoAnn Fuller Board Chair announces the winner and Executive Director Gary Martin looks on.

Ginger Rutland holds the “Power of Voice” award as Access Sacramento’s JoAnn Fuller Board Chair announces the winner and Executive Director Gary Martin looks on.

The honor was presented during Access Sacramento’s “Sacramento Has Talent” benefit at The Crest Theatre.

Access Sacramento Board of Director’s chair JoAnn Fuller presented the award in these words:

“Access Sacramento’s mission is to ‘give voice’ to all residents of Sacramento County, encouraging all to express themselves freely and to ‘make a difference, one voice at a time.’ Our Non-Profit organization proudly manages our channels and resources as wonderful examples of our nation’s Constitutional protections under the First Amendment. Therefore, it gives us great pleasure to present the “Power of Voice” Award this evening to a visionary leader in our community, Ginger Rutland.

“Longtime Sacramento resident Ginger Rutland already had a successful career as a television reporter for Sacramento’s KCRA, NewsChannel 3, and as the Capitol reporter for KRON-TV, Channel 4, in San Francisco before she joined the editorial board of the Sacramento Bee.

"Power of Voice" winner Ginger Rutland.

“Power of Voice” winner Ginger Rutland.

“Ginger’s matter-of-fact writing style cuts through the haze that can cloud-over a story.  She knows how to speak her truth with clarity and decisiveness.

“One may not always agree with Ginger’s stance, but you respect that her position is principled, consistent and steeped in conviction.  Ginger Rutland is more than simply opinionated, she is informed – and that makes her a force to be reckoned with.

“Ginger once unleashed that powerful voice in the defense of Access Sacramento. It is impossible to tell how public opinion swings, but we are pleased to have her gift of rant in our corner.  Access Sacramento is proud to honor Ginger Rutland with the ‘Power of Voice’ Award.

“Thank you, Ginger, for your voice and for us to ensure that others will always have an opportunity to share theirs.

Commenting on the presentation, Rutland said she had never received such a heart-felt tribute was was truly touched and honored by the award.

Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Dan Morain comments on Ginger Rutland's career.

Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Dan Morain comments on Ginger Rutland’s career.

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial page editor Dan Morain joined Fuller and Rutland on the stage to comment on her many years of service and to thank Ginger for dedication and skill.

The full presentation will air later this month when “Sacramento Has Talent” airs on Access Sacramento’s public access television channel 17 on Comcast and Consolidated Cable services, and AT&T U-verse Channel 99.