Submitted by Astoria-Warrenton Chamber
About 250 community members attended the 147th Annual Meeting & Banquet for the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, January 25, 2020.
As a Chamber of Commerce, we offer a variety of benefits to new, old, large & small businesses in the Astoria Warrenton area and our banquet is a way to celebrate all the wonderful things happening in our community.
Several individuals and businesses were recognized for their contributions to the community during the evening’s program. “The Richard Ford Award and the George Award are among the most prestigious, highest honors our community can give to the super-volunteers in our midst,” said AWACC
Executive Director David Reid. “It is more evidence that we live in a truly special place that we have not several, but dozens, of worthy nominees each year.
The selection committees have an extraordinarily tough job to narrow that list down. This year’s recipients are deserving of this recognition and so much more.”
AWARD RECIPIENTS AS FOLLOWS:
President’s Award Our Chamber’s President of the Board awards an outstanding individual or business with a President’s Award.
Recipients demonstrate outstanding community involvement and are looked to as leaders in their personal lives or businesses.
Caroline chose to honor a special business this year, one that went to considerable effort to protect, sustain and advocate for itself – and neighboring businesses – during the difficult circumstances surrounding the bridge end construction this past year.
It’s our privilege to present Astoria Brewing Company with the President’s Award this year, being accepted tonight by Chef Matt McClure.
Ambassador’s Choice Award Selected by the Chamber Ambassadors, this award is given to a company or business that has gone the extra mile, stepped up to the plate or filled a void.
Our winner tonight did all of that. In late 2018, the Chamber was notified that the 2019 4th of July fireworks could not be launched from the breakwater at the Port of Astoria’s East End Mooring Basin, as in years past, due to dire structural issues with the causeway. This left the Chamber with the task of finding an alternative launch site.
One Chamber member business stepped up and provided a barge from which the fireworks could be launched, as well as the manpower to get the barge into position on the Columbia River.
After the necessary contract adjustments and planning changes, it culminated in a fantastic fireworks show at the foot of 17th Street in Astoria. That business is Hyak Tongue Point.
Richard Ford Award (Presented by Warrenton Mayor Henry Balensifer) This year’s Richard Ford Distinguished Service Award winner was described in one nomination letter as “a shining example of an individual who gets up every day with a ‘pay it forward’ mentality”.
Our award winner this year could be singled out as the Warrenton-Hammond School District’s biggest cheerleader. You have most likely seen her catering team dinners for student athletes or yelling from the sidelines at sports games of all types – whether or not her own kids were playing.
Behind the scenes, she sponsors athletes who might need a little extra support in order to play the sports they love. She has also served on the Warrenton-Hammond school board for more than eight years, a position that put her in the role of community event organizer, classroom volunteer and school bond proponent.
While keeping track of her own family responsibilities as a wife and mother, this year’s winner consistently advocates for other families in Warrenton, not just through the school system. She serves on the board of the Warrenton-Hammond Healthy Kids foundation, helping to provide financial, physical and nutritional support for local children.
She coordinates the Thanksgiving basket giveaway and organizes the Christmas Gift Drive, to ensure that less fortunate area families are still able to fully celebrate the holidays. She has also served on the board of Way to Wellville and is currently the Clatsop Association of Realtors Executive Officer.
But while these various commitments are impressive, the nomination letters for this award winner also include descriptions of our award winner’s character and personality, using words like “encouraging”, “leadership”, “caring”, “work ethic”, “positive attitude” and “friend.”
In fact, when one of our nomination letter writers feels particularly daunted by the world’s problems or overwhelmed by their task list, they ask themselves on simple, motivational question: “What would Debbie do?”
Please join me in congratulating our 2019 Ford Award winner, Debbie Morrow!
George Awards (Presented by Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones)
#1 Our 2019 George Award winner is deeply involved in the heart of Astoria — even though her tenure here only spans about 13 years.
She jumped in with both feet, right from the get-go. She has been instrumental in the organization and guidance of the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association, serving as chair of the group for many years and helping to coordinate the the Jane Barnes Revue and the Pacific Northwest Brew Cup.
Under her leadership, the Downtown Association has thrived, being recognized with several Main Street awards. Known for her ability to create partnerships and advocate on behalf of the Astoria community, our award winner was a key member of the team working to save the historic Tourist 2 ferry.
She’s served as a board or committee member for the Astoria Parks and Recreation Foundation, the Garden of Surging Waves, Astoria Visual Arts, the Diversity Committee, the Astoria Music Festival and the Cascadia Chamber Opera. She also raised more than $19,000 for the North Coast Food Web during her time as a Magnanimous Mug competitor at Fort George Brewery. And, undoubtedly, her fundraising prowess is only matched by her people prowess.
She’s recruited hundreds of other people to join these organizations or assist with these efforts to create community and invest in the city’s future.
Her passion is contagious. Some of this individual’s investment in Astoria is only natural. After all, she owns Old Town Framing on Commercial Street.
But that would be nothing without her unwavering dedication, her wit, her creativity, her quirkiness, her uplifting spirit and heart. Her love of this community shines through in everything she does. As one nomination letter put it, “there’s plenty of work to be done, fun to be had and community to be built in Astoria” — and she’s “always there, in the mix, getting it done!”
Please join me in congratulating the 2019 George Award winner, Dulcye Taylor.
#2 Our second George Award winner this year is actually two people — a dynamic duo, a couple whose collective community involvement is so extensive that we will only be able to touch on a fraction of it tonight.
Since landing on the Oregon Coast in 1989, the first half of this team has been a “volunteering force of nature”, as one nomination letter put it. She invested herself into the performing arts community, serving on the first Liberty Theatre board — tasked with saving the 1920s building — and volunteering as the theater’s first director.
She was there at the beginning when Judith Niland started the Astor Street Opry Company, singing, dancing, sewing and recruiting in order to keep the community theater alive and well. She could also be found at the Coaster Theater in Cannon Beach and assisting with Astoria High School drama productions.
Our award winner also got involved with the local chapter of P.E.O. and helped found the Assistance League of the Columbia Pacific, becoming the driving force behind the group’s programs such as Operation School Bell (providing new shoes and clothing to kids) and the Duffel Bag Program (giving 3 essential supplies to children entering the foster care system). She’s also on the board of the Lower Columbia Hospice.
The other half of our duo seems to pitch in wherever needed, often showing up where you least expect him to — just because someone asked for help.
He’s cooked Sunday supper at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Seaside for 14 years and serves on the administrative council at the church.
He’s chaired the parent-teacher-student organizations for both Gearhart Elementary and Star of the Sea School, and he’s currently on the board for the Astoria Armory, helping to coordinate the restoration and long-term management of that space.
He has personally undertaken many repair efforts at the Armory, such as plumbing, carpentry, painting, carpet installation and more.
This award winner has also served on the Chamber board for several terms, back when the Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival was completely coordinated by volunteers. He was there setting up, hauling garbage, running sump pumps and anything else that came up — and then he was there afterwards to tear everything down.
And let’s not forget that through their Subway franchises, they’ve donated thousands of sandwiches and other food items to any cause or organization that needed them. They are people who literally sustain our community.
Please join me in congratulating our 2019 George Award winners, Mike & Mary Davies.
#3 Our final George Award winner tonight is a familiar face at Chamber functions. A long-time member of the Chamber Ambassador committee, you may have seen her volunteering at a Business After Hours, celebrating a new business at its ribbon cutting, or serving beer — and raising scholarship funds — at the Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival.
Or perhaps you’ve seen her serving wine at UnWined, handing out packets at the Great Columbia Crossing or walking alongside the Chamber’s float in the last few Regatta parades. She’d probably be volunteering here tonight, if we had a volunteer schedule for this event. She’s been a champion of ours for decades.
But it’s not just the Chamber that she supports. Our George Award winner is a proud Rotarian, serving as the scholarship committee chair for that organization and assisting with the Crab Dinner they serve at the Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival.
She was a chaperone for the Regatta princesses during a year when they attended almost 20 parades that included overnight stays and flights. She serves on the board for United Way of Clatsop County, where she regularly pitches in to help with events like The Day of Caring and Iron Chef Goes Coastal.
She took part in the Lunch Buddy Mentoring Program for four years, serving as a meaningful connection for kids in local schools. She has cooked for the local March of Dimes Walk for roughly 15 years and served as the chaperone for the Miss Oregon judges for the past five years.
And while this amazing list of community involvements might seem daunting, our George Award winner this year fulfills her volunteer duties with a smile, a deeply caring spirit and an unflappable determination. She’s definitely a person you want on your team, which might be why she’s held the same job at NW Natural for nearly 30 years. They can’t afford to let her go, and neither can our community.
Please join me in cheering for our 2019 George Award winner, Teresa Brownlie.