Four ladies of education named Grand Marshals
OROVILLE – The Oroville Chamber of Commerce gave out several awards, announced this year’s May Festival Grand Marshals and installed their officers at the annual banquet held last Thursday, March 17 at the Pastime Bar & Grill.
After talking about what the chamber does for the community and local businesses – helping to organize and support festivals and activities and advertising the area, Chamber President Clyde Andrews, with the help of Vice President Leah Palmer, announced this year’s awards recipients.
Named as Citizen of the Year was Jack Hughes, owner of Hughes’ Department Store, which has been struggling, but remained open despite almost closing earlier this year.
“This citizen’s huge heart and generosity have not gone unnoticed by our community,” said the evening’s emcee Clyde Andrews, president of the organization.
“Despite the fires cutting back on both his businesses, compounded with the low Canadian dollar, Jack Hughes has worked hard to keep his store open for the sake of the community,” said Andrews. “I wonder if his heart isn’t bigger than his checkbook.”
Hughes and many of his family were at the banquet to watch him receive the award.
The Business of the Year award went to Frontier Foods, owned by Pat and Jody Davidson, for the improvements they have been making to their grocery store and attached businesses. The most recent improvements have included updating the offices that hold a barber shop, design center and chiropractor. The fronts got new treatments of wood and river rock, to match the design theme of not only the grocery store, but many of Oroville’s businesses.
Pat Davidson, who had several of his employees at his table, accepted the award on behalf of the store.
“This year’s Business of the Year has continued to make improvements on their businesses inside and out,” said Andrews. “The new facade on the front shops, the update of the deli area and consistent quality customer services have made them a leader in our town.”
As is often the case, this year’s May Festival Grand Marshals were announced at the banquet. All four have worked in education, three as teachers – Judy DeVon, Joyce Forthun and Esther Sorenson, and one in the office, Jo Mathews, at Oroville Elementary. Sorenson also taught in the high school. The women continue to be active in the community, through various volunteer work and in their churches. The selection was made by the Oroville May Festival Committee. Three of the four, DeVon, Forthun and Mathews were in attendance at the banquet when the announcement was made by Shelly Roberts. Sorenson was out of state visiting her daughter in New Hampshire. The ladies will ride in a convertible in the Grand Parade during May Festival. They could be heard discussion their need to practice their wave prior to Oroville’s big event which takes place Saturday, May
The People’s Choice award, selected through a poll of the community through the chamber’s Facebook page and the Oroville Washington Friends Group, resulted in Oroville Pharmacy receiving the most votes as favorite.
“We got an outpouring of positive responses and kind words about many local businesses. But the people really singled out one of our local businesses that we felt always made them feel welcome and cared for. Dick Larson and the ladies at Oroville Pharmacy have always gone the extra mile,” said Andrews. Their kindness and compassion has really made and impact on this town.”
The award was accepted by Larson, owner and pharmacist at Oroville Pharmacy.
In an award not chosen by the chamber members or the community at large, Betty Hall was chosen by her peers as the Senior Citizen of the Year. The award was presented by Oroville Senior Citizens president Raleigh Chinn, who described her as active in the Oroville Food Bank. She also helps with meals at the Senior Center, greeting people and cleaning up.
Hall “is very selfless and is always willing to help those around her.”
There were several other Appreciation Awards given out that night, the first to Oroville Reman & Reload for not only participating in community activities, but for the company’s continuing expansion and for providing many jobs in the community. Runner up for Citizen of the Year went to a couple, Walt and Vicki Hart.
“Walt is a city councilman that actually shows up to community events. They are both involved with the Legion, volunteering, and are quick to make their Backdoor Club available for community events,” said Andrews.
Runner up for People’s Choice went to No Paws Left Behind, an animal rescue service.
“Carol Richardson and Kathy Arrigoni have created a successful organization that has made a big impact in our area. It takes a huge heart to rescue animals and we are so thankful for their hard work,” said the chamber president.
As last honorable mention, Andrews nominated his wife, Sandy, for all she does behind the scenes volunteering for the chamber, streetscape and individuals in the community. He said, however, that he was discouraged by the candidate from voting for her.
Lastly, he thanked Leah Palmer for her work in arranging this year’s banquet.
The chamber officers are: Clyde Andrews (The Camaray), president; Leah Palmer (Massage by Leah Cathryn), vice president; Peggy Shaw, Treasurer and Sandy Andrews, secretary. The board is made up of Gary DeVon, past president (Okanogan Valley Gazette); Joan Cool (Sun Lakes Realty), Dan Leapley (Oroville Building Supply) and Tim and Dianna Naillon (Pastime Bar & Grill).