This year’s Chamber of Commerce Winter Awards Gala held Saturday, Jan. 18 was a brightly decorated event that transformed the Lakeview Elks Lodge into a starry stage for dinner, awards, auctions and raffle prizes.
‘Stars of the Purple Sage’ as per the theme, were honored with awards. Robbie Leehmann was given the Senior First Citizen Award and Teresa Decker was recognized as Junior First Citizen. Lakeview’s community choir, Sagebrush Echoes, was recognized with the Chamber President’s Award, while the Lakeview Business Association hailed Darryl and Beverly Bender as Merchants of the Year.
The MC Chuckwagon Museum project was given an award for Community Improvement and Claire Reaume was named Educator of the Year.
Dr. Stephen Meneses, executive director of the Klamath Community College Foundation, gave a talk on the importance of business, entrepreneurship and moving forward to the community. “You can’t just do things the same old way,” he told the crowd, describing his own background in entrepreneurial ventures.
As emcee, Bob Kings offered a variety of jokes and ribbing directed at various members of the crowd throughout the evening. Nathan McLain stood in as auctioneer for the live auction of a safari trip to Africa with Frank and Ann Logan walking away as the highest bidder.
Those presenting awards outlined their reasons and talked briefly about those they were giving recognition to. Aimee Kintzley, Chamber president, described Lori Crocker and the Sagebrush Echoes choir as ‘providing joy to the community’ with their presence at various events.
Maurice Lepley, an original member of the choir, accepted Kintzley’s award on behalf of the group.
Christy Bernal chose to offer her reason for recognizing the Benders in the form of a song to the tune of ‘O Susanna’ that she wrote for the occasion. “Oh my goodness,” she sang, lyrically outlining the Benders’ change from a framing business to their current promotional and apparel offerings.
Jack Nicol, who was instrumental in the creation of the MC Chuckwagon museum, was not able to be present to accept his award. Will Cahill accepted it from Mayor Mike Patrick on his behalf.