Chamber of Commerce names award winners, thanks officers
The Moose Lodge in Quincy looked like an Oscars reception on Oct. 20. The Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce had spent hours decorating it in black and gold and a cinematic theme to embellish the setting for the chamber’s awards banquet. The appetizing aromas of dinner by This ‘n’ That catering drifted into the street as attendees trickled in.
Glenda Bishop opened the evening with a cheery welcome, and Brian Kuest stepped in to introduce the Chamber staff and board members. President Gigi Lowry was not able to attend. Cari Mathews, the chamber’s executive director, took a turn at the microphone for the installation of the chamber’s 2019 president, Julie Putnam. Also announced at the banquet, the president-elect in 2019 will be John Akins Jr.
The Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce states that its goals are “… the promotion of the agricultural, civic, commercial, industrial, recreational and financial interest of the Quincy Valley, and the preservation of the free enterprise system.”
The award recipients represent those ideals perfectly, each in their own way.The Teacher of the Year award was given to Susan Rose, a Quincy High School teacher who does “all things English.” The presenter, Cari Horning, explained how Rose not only teaches, but is a champion of the students, no matter what level of academic achievement they may have.
“She is professional and passionate about the students,” Horning said.
Rose is also one of the two Quincy teachers with a National Board Certificate. She also leads the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) college-readiness class at the high school.
The Volunteer of the Year award went to Shirley Zimbelman, who was not in attendance at the banquet, accepted by Robbie Sundberg-Rubio. The presenter, Sonia Padron, highlighted Zimbelman’s volunteer work, including beautification projects along Quincy roads featuring wonderful flowering plants, and readiness to lend a hand whenever needed. Padron also said, “Shirley is a good neighbor. She will help anyone.”
The Business of the Year award was presented to the Quincy Valley Post-Register. The presenter, Janet Lybbert, was next to tears as she talked fondly about her former place of employment.
“This paper has embodied the community for nearly 70 years,” Lybbert said. “Events are documented, and they become history. Who doesn’t have a clipping or two about a special occasion that was printed in the paper?”
Lybbert introduced three of the staff, Janette Morris, Sebastian Moraga and Dave Burgess, and pointed out that one Post-Register staffer, Jessica Blancas, could not attend the banquet. Upon receiving the award, Burgess thanked the Chamber for its continuing support and the community for sharing its stories.
The Lifetime Achievement award was given to John and Marie Rylaarsdam. During the social hour before the awards, John said that when he received the call about his nomination, he thought it was a mistake.
“Volunteering and helping the community is natural to me. I don’t expect recognition,” he said.
Marie, a teacher in Soap Lake, echoed his words.
“We are a team and support each other’s community activities. This is just what we do – we want to help others reach their potential.”
Among John’s many community occupations are the Rotary Club (10 years), helping others start new businesses, a firefighter EMT, director of the Quincy Columbia Basin Irrigation District and much more. Most people would need a lifetime to get to the end of his list, but John is juggling it all throughout his lifetime.
The shared response from all of the recipients was that they were completely surprised and had not expected any awards for their work. They are a group of natural givers and community builders.
Sebastian Moraga, a Post-Register reporter, said, “When the community sees us as an asset, it’s great. Quincy is a place just dripping with kindness.”
By Jaana Hatton, For the Post-Register