Hilary Blackler named ‘Citizen of the Year’

Hilary Blackler was named

Hilary Blackler was named “Citizen of the Year’ at the Chamber of Commerce Banquet. She received the award not only for co-chairing the Oroville Centennial Park Project, but for the many things she does to beautify the community.

OROVILLE – Recognizing her talents and long history of working to make Oroville beautiful, Hilary Blackler was named as this year’s “Citizen of the Year” at the Oroville Chamber of Commerce Officer Installation and Awards Banquet Saturday evening, Jan. 24.

In presenting the award, Blackler was described as possibly the greatest secret weapon this community has ever had. She was applauded for her talent in design and for continuing to add to the beauty the community every day.

Blackler has been an enthusiastic member of the Oroville Streetscape Committee since its beginning in 1996, a natural for her because she was one of the founders of PIRO, People Interested in Revitalizing Oroville, a beautification group active in the 1970s.

She was one of the people instrumental in planting the trees in downtown Oroville, was co-chairwoman for the Centennial Park Project and leads a team that waters the hanging flower baskets and flower pots.

“This quiet little lady is a heck of an instigator, stepping up to the plate to co-chair this year’s Centennial Park project. She designed most of the plan and through her determination the dream became a reality and a highlight of Oroville’s Centennial Celebration,” write her friends Barb Drummond and Joan Cool, who were unable to attend the banquet.

Unbeknownst to Roger McClendon, this year’s banquet emcee, the “Business of the Year” award went to he and his wife Hazel for their restaurant, Yo Yo’s, where the banquet was held.

After describing the pleasant atmosphere, friendly waitresses and recent remodel, Oroville Chamber President Rich Solberg talked about how much more the couple does in the community.

“Roger and Hazel, who not only manage, but cook, clean and plan special events for the community, do so much more… Roger is Master of Ceremonies for most banquets during the year, he juggles his time being the emcee and being the chef quite nicely and the end product is always delicious and the evening lots of fun,” said Solberg.

The couple donates food baskets at Thanksgiving and at Christmas they donate food, toys and clothing to folks that are “down and out” and need a little TLC in their lives, Solberg said.

“We appreciate Yo Yo’s for going the extra mile and making our community a special place,” said the Chamber President.

The “Most Improved Business” award went to Oroville Building Supply owned by Chris Wood. “What an asset to our community,” said Solberg, who described how the company had taken an ugly piece of land just south of town and built a new building

“Every aspect of this business reflects organization, great architecture and friendly knowledgeable staff. Our community appreciates the fact that we don’t have to drive 40 miles to buy our building materials,” Solberg said.

Receiving the award for Chris Wood, who was out of town, was Tim Boyer, who manages the Oroville Building Supply.

Several other awards were given – J.T. Miller received “Student of the Year,” an award voted on by the staff at the high school.

“What a phenomenal student,” said Principal Steve Quick who said their decision this year was an easy one

Quick said Miller had a “super high” GPA and not because he takes easy classes. Miller is in knowledge bowl, as well as athletics and is well liked by the other students, according to the principal.

“Justin is going to do great things some day,” said Quick.

Jean Jones was chosen as “Volunteer of the Year” for the many things she does behind the scenes, said Ardi Fitzthum, who made the presentation. Jones has served in many positions in the Oroville Eagles, as well as the American Legion.

“She’s the Easter Bunny who makes the annual Easter Egg Hunt work… without Jean their wouldn’t be an Easter Egg Hunt,” said Fitzthum.

Fitzthum said Jones “jumps right in” to drive people to the doctors and the hospital.

“If you are lucky enough to call her friend, which most of Oroville does, you’re blessed,” said Fitzthum.

Cal and Tillie Porter were selected as “Senior Citizens of the Year” by the members of the Oroville Senior .

This year’s President’s Award went to Raleigh and Mimi Chinn. He is a former Oroville Chamber President and is still very involved in the organization, helping to man the Visitor Information Center and acting as liaison with the Okanogan County Tourism Council which he is president of. He and his wife spend many hours planting flowers and taking care of the Visitor Information Center, said Solberg, as a few of the reasons he wanted to honor the couple. Oroville City Councilman Walt Hart III installed this year’s chamber officers, which included several who were returning to their positions from the year before. Solberg is in his second year as president, as is Kally Berlinger at vice president. Margaret Jones will be the treasurer this year and Gary DeVon, Roger McClendon and Ardi Fitzthum are members of the executive board.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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