Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce recognizes exceptional community service by naming Leaders of the Year at the annual Citizens Awards Banquet. This year the Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise will be packed with civic-minded citizens who show up to enjoy the socializing and honor the recipients 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28.
The categories for awards are Business Leader, Employee of the Year, Leader in the Arts, Leader of Education, Natural Resources, Timber and Ag Leader, Leader in Nonprofits/Events and Unsung Hero.
None of the nominees do what they do for the applause and so getting them to the banquet often involves misleading them a bit about why they’ll be there. That’s fun for the audience, and often exceptionally moving. Last year, 2016 Unsung Hero Award winner Ralph Swinehart of Enterprise thought he had come to witness nominator Rick Bombaci get an award.
Past recipients have included Maria Weer of Lostine as the Nonprofit Leader for her work as both executive director of Building Healthy Families and lead teacher for the Alternative Education Program; Jim Russell of 1917 Lumber Company of Joseph for Leader in Business; and Beth Gibans of Backyard Gardens for her work in establishing the Wallowa County Community Farmers Market in Joseph and pioneering the offering of Community Supported Agriculture shares.
Raffle baskets, games, table prizes, centerpiece drawings and tradeshow tables will be featured.
Heirloom Catering will provide this year’s dinner. Erica Pinkerton and Andy Crow will emcee. The Brann Family will provide live music.