News, Springfield

Cottage Grove Chamber: Glitz, glamour and goodwill

SLCF&R Fire Marshal Danny Solesbee (right) hands Division Chief Joe Raade a plaque honoring him with the ”President’s Award for Community Excellence.” Photo provided/Greg Lee

COTTAGE GROVE – On an evening with the glitz and flare of ”A Red Carpet Event,” it was the humble, down-home acceptance speeches from the honorees that stole the show during the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce’s 68th annual Awards and Installation Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Cottage Grove Armory.
Len Blackstone was recognized for his ”Community Impact” as a visionary developer of downtown Cottage Grove. His legacy is secure, but Blackstone wanted to audience to know it wasn’t easy, and was made possible only through their support when he needed it most.
”Thank you for loving me … thank you for loving my team,” he said, holding back his emotions. ”We love you.”
Joe Raade, a familiar presence with his family at community events and church activities, was given the PACE (President’s Award for Community Excellence) Award, which conveys gratitude for a lifetime of service to the betterment of the community. Raade made his way to the stage as the crowd rose for a standing ovation.
Master of Ceremonies Ned Hickson led the packed house through a light and breezy evening, filled with collegial socializing and a celebration of small businesses and big personalities.
The night ended with the Business of the Year honor, which The Brewstation and Coast Fork Feed earned, to thunderous applause.
”How lucky I am to work with the people I love the most,” said co-owner Dale Smith, joined on stage by her daughters and son.
More than $3,000 was raised by the ”Dessert Dash” for scholarships to be awarded to the Junior First Citizen and runner-up.
And the winners are:

TOP NONPROFIT
Bohemian Mining Days

FIRST CITIZEN
Lloyd Webber

TOP BUSINESS
Coast Fork Feed Co. and Brew Station

COMMUNITY IMPACT
Len Blackstone

PACE AWARD
Joe Raade

JR. FIRST CITIZEN
Austin Dempsey, ($1,000 scholarship)

Runner-up
Oden Armstrong, ($750 scholarship)