Kester named Tonasket ‘Citizen of the Year’

Kari Alexander, the 2009 Tonasket Chamber of Commerce President, presented David Kester, outgoing Chamber President, with the 2008 Chamber President’s Award. Kester was also awarded Citizen of the Year by the organization at the chamber banquet held Thu

Kari Alexander, the 2009 Tonasket Chamber of Commerce President, presented David Kester, outgoing Chamber President, with the 2008 Chamber President’s Award. Kester was also awarded Citizen of the Year by the organization at the chamber banquet held Thu

TONASKET – The awards for business, organization and citizen of the year were presented at the annual Tonasket Chamber of Commerce banquet on Thursday, Jan. 15.

Wild Rose Floral Design, owned by Kelli Podkranic and Jay Johann, was honored with the 2008 Business of the Year award, presented by Helen Casey.

“You’ll note as you go down main street that this Tonasket Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year has truly made a difference, creating a bright spot with sign board and balloons waving in the air, a great main street presence this year,” Casey said in her presentation of the award.

Casey listed several of the ways Wild Rose Floral Design has made a difference to the Tonasket community, including helping with the school Gear Up program and the Washington, D.C. kids, enriching them with a work study program on the art of floral arrangements, which were then sold as a fund raiser for the trip. The business also provides flower arrangements for the assisted living and nursing home and has helped behind the scenes with the fair and 4H projects.

Terry Mills, 2009 chamber vice president, then presented the 2008 Organization of the Year to Girls on the Run. This organization was started by Julie Goyette five years ago, helped by Jodi Terris.

“[Girls on the Run's] goals are to educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living,” Mills said during her speech.

Some more goals of Girls on the Run are to give young girls a stronger sense of identity, help them learn the advantages of peer group support, to help girls learn to stand up for themselves in a healthy manner, improve girls’ body images and help them understand their place in their community. Mills said the program finishes with a 5k run/walk every year, which is held on Founder’s Day. She also said the organization has encouraged over 300 girls in the past four and a half years.

David Kester, owner of Lee Frank Mercantile, was presented with two awards at the banquet. First, incoming president Kari Alexander presented him with the 2008 President’s Award for his role as president during the last year. Then, Chamber Board Member Herb Wandler presented Kester with the 2008 Citizen of the Year award.

“The Citizen of the Year is chosen by a committee of past recipients,” Wandler said. “It’s quite an accommodation and quite a compliment.”

“This past year we focused on the Tonasket Visitor’s Business and Resource Center and got it done just in time for Sylvia Williams to be the new director,” Kester said as he accepted the President’s Award. “We also started a TVBRC board. We would like the board to have up to nine directors, we have five right now.”

The Grand Marshals for the Founders Day Parade were also announced at the banquet. Mills announced that Ray and Rhonda Colbert would be the Grand Marshals.

“They run the kids games on Rodeo weekend and helped with the Barrel Racing on Rodeo weekend,” Mills said. “Ray is very active in Kiwanis and chairs the Highway Clean up south of town.”

The final announcement at the banquet was that of the new officers. Alexander will be taking Kester’s place as president, Mills will be filling Alexander’s place as vice president, Julie Alley will serve as secretary and Steve Mattson will be maintaining his place as treasurer. The Board of Directors will be made up of Kester, returning board members Rob Nau, Bertha Wandler and Jerry Mills with new board members Stephanie and Jerry Bradley.

“We have plans to increase our membership and the quality of our meetings,” Alexander said in her presidential speech. “Every month we will explore a specific business topic so that we can share ideas and help each other through this hard economic time. We are only as important as our members allow us to be.”

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