Cheri Tinker, left, of North Olympic Regional Veterans’ Housing Network and Erin Queen of Forks Avenue Real Estate received two of the Forks Chamber of Commerce’s “Best of” awards.

Cheri Tinker, left, of North Olympic Regional Veterans’ Housing Network and Erin Queen of Forks Avenue Real Estate received two of the Forks Chamber of Commerce’s “Best of” awards.

Forks Chamber of Commerce presents ‘Best of’ awards

FORKS — The Forks Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Citizen of the Year is known for her work with veterans, not only in Forks but also in Port Angeles.

Cheri Tinker is president and executive director of the North Olympic Regional Veterans’ Housing Network Sarge’s Place — which offers housing and support for homeless veterans — The Outpost and Camp Sol Duc.

“I was really shocked and very humbled by this,” Tinker said when she received the award Wednesday at Blakeslee’s Bar and Grill.

“I am grateful to be a part of this town and to live somewhere where folks work hard together.

“Thank you to the chamber members for this honor and thank you to Forks for supporting me, my crazy ideas and the Veterans of Sarge’s Place.”

Halvey Award

For the second year, the awards ceremony recognized a Forks entity that gives back to the community with the Inez Halverson Award or the ‘Halvey’ for short.

The Forks Lions Club won the award this year for its longtime constant support of numerous community venues and activities, such as several projects in Tillicum Park — most recently, a flagpole project — raising money for the first lights for Spartan Field at Forks High School, helping to maintain the Big Log, taking part in the Forks Old Fashioned 4th of July, the food/firewood exchange with Lions in Eastern Washington and the annual White Cane auction.

John Buonpane accepted the award on behalf of the Lions Club.

Buonpane also was nominated for Volunteer of the Year and Business of the Year.

The ‘Halvey’ Award is presented to people who make a difference, in honor of the late Inez Halverson, a longtime Forks resident who, before she died in 2008, was involved in everything from the garden club, 4-H, Clallam County Fair, West End Business and Professional Association and Chamber of Commerce, as well as attending City Council meetings.

Last year’s recipient was Olympic Correction Center.

Business of the Year

Forks Avenue Real Estate took the top honor as Business of the Year. Owner Erin Queen was acknowledged for her renovation of an empty downtown building, adding landscaping, and maintaining the Big Log — a Forks tourist attraction which occupies part of Queen’s property — as well as incorporating historical items of interest on her building.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Chamber of Commerce for Business of the Year,” Queen said.

“I’d like to say thank you to so many people. I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my community and family.”

Also nominated for the award were Forks Outfitters, J&D Enterprises NW LLC — owned by John and Debra Buonpane — Jerry’s Small Engine Repair and Rentals, and the Parlor.

Volunteer of the Year

The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Chad and Shannon Dahlgren, who were unable to attend. The Dahlgrens were nominated for their work with West End Youth League. Shannon has been a commissioner for the league and Chad works a full day and then coaches two football teams in the evening.

Other nominees were Buonpane, Bill Plumley, Janet Marion, Joe Wright, Randy Simmons, Richard Halverson, Rick Sequin and Warren Johnson.

Also recognized at the luncheon were the the Forks Visitor Information staff and volunteers who welcomed 41,856 visitors to the Visitor Information Center in 2018.

Forks Logging and Mill Tour volunteers Randy Mesenbrink and Richard Halverson hosted 172 tours last summer. The tours will be expanded to year-round because of a grant from the Port of Port Angeles, said Lissy Andros, chamber executive director.

Citizen of the Year

Last summer, Tinker opened Sarge’s Farmstand on Sol Duc Way in Forks, selling local produce and eggs from on-site chickens.

The Farmstand joined the already established Sarge’s Attic, a second-hand store. Proceeds from sales at the Farmstand and second-hand shop benefit Sarge’s Place. Veterans also work at the two businesses.

Other nominees for the 2018 citizen of the year were Johnson, also nominated for Volunteer of the Year, and Susie Brandelius.


Christi Baron is the editor of the Forks Forum, which is part of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at

Baron is also the president of the Forks Chamber of Commerce.

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