Port Angeles chamber awards finalists announced

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce has announced the finalists for its inaugural Port Angeles Annual Community Awards.

The six awards will recognize and honor outstanding individuals and organizations, said Jessica Hernandez, chamber board president.

More than 100 nominations were received, she said. The top three finalists in each category were selected by a panel of judges from the community at large.

The finalists will be celebrated and honored — with a winner to be announced from six categories — during the inaugural Community Awards Gala, slated for Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St.

Tickets to the gala are $70. They are available for purchase online at www.chambersignups.com. A table of eight would save $60, the chamber said, urging those who want to buy a table to contact Marc Abshire, chamber director, at 360-452-23645.

A plated dinner will be served, with entrées from Kokopelli Grill, appetizers from Next Door Gastro Pub, salad from Bella Italia, soup from Toga’s, and a surprise dessert.

“I’m very pleased with how this program is coming together, and I’m excited about the gala we are planning for Jan. 20,” Hernandez said.

“Congratulations to all the wonderful finalists.”

Citizen of the Year

The Citizen of the Year award will recognize an individual’s outstanding contributions during the past year to promote a healthy, happy, and prosperous community, Hernandez said.

The finalists are:

• Reath Ellefson, organizer of a community Thanksgiving feast, recipient of a 2015 Clallam County Community Service Award for organizing the meal, and volunteer for other community events.

• Timothy Mason and Amber Keebler, community volunteers, especially for Serenity House.

• Marsha Robin, a Soroptimist and a supporter of the Port Angeles Food Bank, Olympic Peninsula Humane Society and the dog park — a “jack-of-all-trades when it comes to volunteerism,” Abshire said.

Young Leader of Year

The Young Leader of the Year award will recognize a person between the ages of 18 and 39 who exemplifies a commitment to the health and future of the community, and who has made an impact during the past year beyond the responsibilities and expectations of their job, Hernandez said.

The finalists are:

• Lindsay Fox, who — in addition to her day job and working part-time as events manager at the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce — also volunteers in such endeavors as the Lincoln Theater, with the Lefties and for the Hurricane Ridge Ski School, among many.

• Brianna Kelly, who volunteers for the homeless and has organized events to bring attention to drug overdoses.

• Bonnie Schmidt, who created Love Sparkle the World; she is a childcare provider and advocate.

Emerging Business

The Emerging Business of the Year award will be given to a business between one and four years old — or has been significantly reinvented within that same window of time — and has recently filled a significantly unmet need or market, revitalized an area, or contributed altruistically beyond the mission or profit motive of the business.

The finalists are:

• Bada Bean NW.

• Lefties Baseball.

• Olympic Peninsula Massage.

Organization of Year

The Organization of the Year award will recognize the nonprofit, church, agency or community service organization that has demonstrated exceptional achievement of its mission, consistently improving quality of life in the community over the past year, Hernandez said.

The finalists are:

• The Answer for Youth.

• Olympic Medical Center.

• United Way of Clallam County.

Educator of Year

The Educator of the Year recognizes a Port Angeles High School District or private teacher, coach, or educational staff member who has exhibited impressive leadership and achieved exceptional results towards the overall development of youth in grade levels K-12, Hernandez said.

The finalists are:

• Cindy Crumb, Lincoln High School principal.

• John Gallagher, Port Angeles High School science teacher who was recognized as the 2017 Regional Teacher of the Year.

• Ron Jones, retired Port Angeles High School director of orchestras, who was selected this year for the Washington Interscholastic Activities Hall of Fame.

Business of Year

The Business of the Year award will go to a large or small business that has shown consistent excellence as an employer, involvement as a corporate citizen of the community and is a recognized contributor over that past year to the general prosperity of the community, Hernandez said.

The finalists are:

• Black Ball Ferry Line.

• Lakeside Industries Inc.

• Wilder Auto Center.

First Federal has committed to be the Platinum Sponsor of the gala, and Peninsula Daily News has signed up as Award Sponsor for each of the six award winners.

Several additional sponsorships are available for businesses that want to support the awards program.

For more information, contact Hernandez at 360-452-2364 or [email protected]

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