Port Angeles chamber gala set for Saturday

Six community awards to be presented

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce will present its annual community awards during a gala dinner on Saturday.

The gala, which will celebrate the three finalists in each of six categories as well as present the awards, will be from 6 p.m. to about 8 p.m. at the Field Arts & Events Hall, 201 W. Front St., Port Angeles. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets, available at https://www.portangeles.org, are $100 per person, $750 for a standard table and $900 for a gold/sponsor table.

This is the seventh year for the chamber’s community awards, which are given in six categories: Citizen of the Year, Young Leader of the Year, Educator of the Year, Business of the Year, Emerging Business of the Year and Organization of the Year.

The chamber reportedly received more than 150 nominations for the awards.

Nominees for the awards do not have to be chamber members and the judging panel does not represent the chamber, the chamber said.

All residents, businesses and organizations from greater Port Angeles are eligible to be nominated by any community member. A panel of seven judges, selected from the community-at-large, reviewed all nominations in a series of in-person meetings, and selected the finalists from each category.

The gala is sponsored by , Inc., and Olympic Lodge, with other businesses that provided in-kind services.

The finalists in each category are listed in alphabetical order with descriptions by their nominators.

Citizen of the Year

• Jeff Bohman — President of the Peninsula Trails Coalition, Bohman’s work advocating for the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) has culminated in a historic partnership with trail organizations in Clallam, Jefferson and Kitsap counties, successfully securing more than $16 million in federal grant funding to fill trail gaps from La Push to Bainbridge Island. He also is in the Port Angeles School District CTE Program and Capital Facilities planning group as well a member of the Rotary Club.

• Michell Gentry — Gentry is AmeriCorps manager at Port Angeles High School, a YMCA board member, active in Kiwanis Club of Port Angeles and a Key Club advisor. She served as volunteer ice rink manager for the chamber’s Winter Ice Village for five seasons.

• Randy Johnson — Johnson, Clallam County commissioner for District 2, also is active in the Port Angeles Business Association, a longtime supporter of the Peninsula Home Fund and has been “a champion for creating housing resources in Port Angeles,” his nominator said. He serves on a variety of boards in the community. He is president of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA and of the Shore Aquatic Center board and serves on the chamber of commerce Board of Directors.

Young Leader of the Year

• Kennedy Cameron — Since October 2022, Cameron has served as the student financial aid liaison for United Way of Clallam County, helping to create a new program focused specifically on FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion. Their greatest achievements in the past 14 months are creating a Student Financial Aid Day Camp and presenting to the Port Angeles School District leadership and staff on gender inclusive schools.

• Laken Folsom — Folsom volunteers at the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Port Angeles Food Bank, as well as serving as the student representative for both the Port Angeles School District and the Parks and Recreation Beautification Committee and in student government at Peninsula College.

Jeremy Gilchrist —Gilchrist’s events have raised millions of dollars for the Olympic Medical Center Foundation. He has had considerable influence and effectiveness starting the Washington State Festival and Events Association, his nominator said. He also volunteers with other nonprofits. He can be found hanging lights at Vern Burton Community Center, or hauling supplies or equipment that he has loaned to other nonprofit

Educator of the Year

• Jarrett Hansen — Hansen is the director of bands at Port Angeles High School (PAHS) and Stevens Middle School and is the chair of the Music and Visual Arts Department of PAHS as well as president of the North Olympic Music Educators Association. He sacrificed his planning period to teach at both PAHS and Stevens to keep sixth grade band in the district. He has sent students to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall.

• Stacey Sanders — Sanders, a Port Angeles High School teacher,was the only educator finalist to receive nominations from students, who praised her for taking on the leadership class in addition to her classes, clubs and sports teams as well as “making history fun again” and serving as a trusted advisor.

“She deserves recognition for making school a happy place,” said student Isabella Temres.

• Everett Young — Young, who teaches at Seaview Academy, has consistently demonstrated “exceptional dedication, support, and commitment to the success of his students,” his nominator said.

He also collaborates with colleagues, parents and administrators.

“His positive impact extends beyond the classroom, creating a ripple effect that enhances the school’s educational environment as a whole,” his nominator said.

Business of the Year

• North Olympic Healthcare Network — NOHN works with the Port Angeles School District to operate a mobile health clinic and works on creating community wellness programs with Peninsula Adventure Sports. During the pandemic, NOHN hosted vaccine drives and testing. Dr. Michael Maxwell, CEO of NOHN, recused himself from judging in this category.

• Olympic Electric — The owners aimed to provide a local company that could be competitive with services and price point. The company bought new televisions for the YMCA and supports the BMX track, calling it their pet project. They worked on Elwha dams removal, Eighth Street bridges, expanded the high voltage system over the last three years, and now they have three crews in Eastern Washington.

• Pacific Office Equipment — In business since 1965, POE has regular community work days when employees do community service during paid work hours. POE also does many donations of equipment and supplies to nonprofits.

Emerging Business of the Year

• Grocery Outlet — Owners John and Melanie Grattan stock kitchens for new homeowners through Habitat for Humanity and also for the new Peninsula Behavioral Health apartments. “Grocery Outlet’s substantial contributions to local food banks, schools, and shelters, involving the donation of hundreds of pounds of food, exemplify their dedication to alleviating food insecurity in our community,” the nominator said.

• Kindred Collective — Stevie Boggard and Becky McFarland started Kindred Collective downtown as a way to showcase small local businesses. They also host workshops and crafting classes and are active in downtown activities.

• Mix It Shack — Teenagers Hunter Robinson and Brielle Murray opened the Mix It Shack to be more than an ice cream shop. It also is a safe place for teenagers to hang out with table games and board games and has a lounge used for many community events such as a place for youth groups, birthday parties, game nights and kids’ sports team bonding nights.This also was the first business to donate a portion of proceeds to the Dream Playground after the Dec. 20 fire.

Organization of the Year

• Oxford House — Oxford House offers sober group living in a single residence. The houses are democratically run by the residents with equal division of chores and responsibilities.

• Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club — Club members donate hundreds of Joy Quilts each year to Olympic Medical Center, social services, each bedroom that Habitat for Humanity creates, the First Step Family Support, Sarge’s Place and many others.

• Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County — VHOCC is unique in being a volunteer organization with no one receiving a bill for services. The lending closet is open free to any community member in need of medical equipment. They offer 24/7 assistance and grief support.

This year’s judging panel was Donya Alward, general manager of the Red Lion Hotel; Sean Coleman of Bruch & Bruch Construction/Lincoln Park BMX Track; Lori Frederick, vice president of Strait View Credit Union; Dr. Michael Maxwell, North Olympic Healthcare Network; Brendan Meyer, Port Angeles City Council; Kelley Romero of Harbinger Winery/Harbar; and Glenn Smithson, general manager of 7 Cedars Hotel and Casino.

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