Business & Development, Creswell

An Evening of Excellence – 2019 Awards Banquet highlights familiar, new faces leading Creswell

SLCG&R Division Chief Danny Solesbee presents McKenzie Traetow with the Junior Citizenship award. Gini Davis/The Creswell Chronicle

The stars shone inside as well as out as some of the community’s brightest lights were honored during the Creswell Chamber of Commerce’s annual Community Celebration and Awards Banquet, held May 23 at Emerald Valley Golf & Resort.
The banquet celebrates the Chamber’s 54-year commitment to Creswell and is the organization’s primary fundraiser. This year’s banquet raised $6,000 through silent and oral auctions, the ever-popular dessert dash that raised $2,894 as tables bid for first choice from a tableful of enticing sweets, and a rousing game of Heads or Tails.
Table sponsorships padded banquet coffers and auctioneer Sid Voorhees’ plea for ”from the heart” pledges netted $1,000 toward the Chamber’s annual Creswell High School scholarships.
”The ‘from the heart’ donations this year fund 50 percent of the scholarships, with the remainder funded by the additional fundraising,” said Chamber Administrator Don Amberg.
Guests mingled, browsed Silent Auction items before the program opened with Nancy Jones singing the National Anthem, followed by a buffet dinner. Later, during the oral auction, two Fourth of July VIP packages – including a canopy-covered table for eight in Holt Park, breakfast service, unobstructed view of the parade and more – were auctioned by Voorhees for $300 each. A skydiving package went for $150 and leftover desserts also went to the highest bidder.
But the highlight of the evening was unquestionably the presentation of the Chamber’s annual awards honoring Creswell citizens who serve their community with exceptional dedication and successful local businesses that also give back.
Perhaps no one better exemplified both than the recipient of this year’s Rose Barker Lifetime Achievement Award: the late Dr. Tamara Blum, longtime owner-operator of Creswell Chiropractic.
”Thank you to those who chose to honor my wife this way,” said Blum’s husband, Al Bennett in accepting the posthumous award. ”And thanks to all our ’employers’ over the past 25 years; as every business owner knows, our ’employers’ are everybody who walks through the door and allows us to serve them.”
Banquet emcee and Creswell Chronicle publisher Noel Nash presented the Chamber’s Business of the Year award to Point S. Creswell Tire & Auto Service. Co-owner Rory Tyler praised his ”fantastic team” and thanked the community for supporting the store and helping it ”continue to drive forward.”
Runners-up for the award were Creswell HealthMart and Farmers Insurance Ryan Hoffstot Agency.
The Agribusiness of the Year award went to Creswell Bakery. ”Creswell Bakery is really passionate about farm-to-table food,” said Alisha Anderson in accepting the award for owner Heidi Tunnell.
Runners-up were My Brothers’ Farm and CK Farm.
To enthusiastic applause, Patti Scott was named Citizen of the Year. For many years, Scott has had her capable fingers in many school district and community ”pies,” including volunteering at local schools, assisting Creswell’s homeless and more.
”If any of you ever need something to do, come see me; I’m working on a lot of things and can put you to work,” Scott told the audience.
Runners-up were Steve Carmichael, Martha McReynolds Jr. and Ashley Lewis.
Seth and Melissa Clark were named Community Volunteer of the Year. Seth Clark humbly said the couple, owners of Blue Valley Bistro, were ”so honored and appreciative of our fellow nominees.”
Finalists were Don Ehrich and the duo of Alesha Culp and Lisa Ross.
Creslane Elementary School teacher Brandee Buehler was named Creswell School District Educator of the Year, and Sue Bowers was the district’s Volunteer of the Year.
”I’m so honored. Thank you,” Buehler said.
Bowers, longtime ASPIRE coordinator and mentor at Creswell High School and Intergenerational Reading Collaboration (IRC) volunteer, expressed appreciation to district teachers, administrators and her fellow volunteers who work hard to help students succeed and encouraged others to come forward to guide and mentor young people.
”There are lots of opportunities to help – and as with any volunteer effort, you’ll get way more back than you give,” she said.
CHS senior McKenzie Traetow was named Junior Citizen of the Year and received a $1,000 scholarship.
SLCF&R Division Chief Danny Solesbee read Traetow’s impressive list of accomplishments, including four sports, National Honor Society, district- and state-level awards for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and HOSA (Future Help Professionals), a lengthy list of school and community volunteerism and more. She even graduated early.
Seniors Kelsey Kuhnhausen and Tayler Forsman were finalists for the award. Each received a $500 scholarship.
”Probably the toughest part of our decision process was deciding who our Junior Citizen of the Year would be,” Nash said. ”Their qualifications were all impressive.”
After the awards presentation, guests honored another venerable local star, giving veteran Richard Heyman – who turned 95 over the weekend – a standing ovation before singing ”Happy Birthday,” with Chamber President Scott Olson leading the way.
”It’s wonderful to see the community and businesses come together to celebrate our collective and individual achievements and to honor those finalists and award winners chosen to receive recognition,” Amberg said.
Gold Sponsors for the event were PayneWest, Sanipac, South Lane County Fire & Rescue and The Creswell Chronicle. Silver Sponsors were Banner Bank, Creswell 76 and Point S Creswell Tire & Auto Service. Award Finalist Sponsors were Blue Valley Bistro and SLCF&R.
”Ticket sales and table sponsorships are designed to cover banquet expenses,” Amberg said. ”The goal is that the fundraising proceeds fund the scholarships first, with the remainder contributing to funding our other events – mainly Fourth of July and Tree Lighting.”



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