Tonasket Chamber of Commerce Banquet

TONASKET — The Chamber of Commerce selected Grant Leavell, owner of Grant’s Market, as the 2020 Founders’ Day grand marshal.

Receiving the award for Leavell at the annual banquet was board member Marilee Nielsen. The plaque honoring Marshall reads, “Grant has been active in many charitable organizations as well as being a key player in both the Agricultural and Retail communities. His dedication, warm personality and generosity will be remembered far into the future.”

Tonasket School Board member and Family Medical Centers Board member Ernie Cerrillo was named 2020 Citizen of the Year. Tonasket School District Superintendent Steve McCullough announced the award, describing Cerrillo as “a man who our community respects and can always count on.”

“He is a man with a truly Godly character who is always looking to serve others,” said McCullough. “He is a loving husband and father who arrives at his church two hours early on Sundays to help prepare and occasionally preach.”

Cerrillo received the 2007 Napa Auto Parts Specialist of the Year award, and McCullough quoted Allen’s Auto Parts owner Greg Eply stating, “His knowledge brings people into my store. His personality captivates them and his compassion and dedication keeps them coming back.”

McCullough cited several organizations and programs Cerillo volunteers for, including the school district’s migrant program, Habitat for Humanity and the local Skatepark project. Cerrillo also serves as a translator for the City of Tonasket and North Valley Hospital.

The Tonasket Eagles were named Organization of the Year, with head trustee Yeg Wandler receiving the award.

Midway Building Supply was named Business of the Year, with Chad and Carla Hinkley accepting the award.

Before handing over her responsibilities as chamber of commerce president of the past five years to Kris Duchow, Marylou Kriner thanked her husband Steve Kriner as “someone who stood by” her every day, and performed countless hours of service to the community, including caring for the RV Park daily during summer operations.

Duchow thanked Kriner, acknowledging her as “someone she knew she could call to ask for help.”

Kriner, in turn, thanked retiring treasurer Marilee Nielsen for her “numerous years of guidance and record-keeping that light the path for others to follow,” as Kriner takes on the role of treasurer.

Kriner also thanked Aaron Kester for his years of service as vice-president, with Angie Gavin taking over that role.

Sara Dunn serves as secretary, and returning as board members are Dale Crandall, Heather Kircaldy, Marilee Nielsen and Josh Kuhlmann.

The annual banquet serves as the organization’s sole fundraising event for activities they host including Founders’ Day and Winterfest. Eighty-two dinners were served, and a silent and live auction featuring auctioneer Jerry Asmussen reeled in $3,850 from 30 items donated by business and community members. The biggest sale of the evening was a granite rock engraved with the American flag by Kathy Moore. Jacking up the bids were Dale Crandall and Steve Kriner, with Crandall taking home the prize at $675.

Bringing in $400 from Marylou Kriner was a hand-crocheted afghan by Bertha Wandler, one of numerous afghans donated to a variety of community fund-raisers by Wandler including one that fetched $350 for North Valley Hospital Foundation earlier this year.

Business members interested in joining the chamber are invited to attend noon to 1 p.m. meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month, currently held at The Kuhler on Whitcomb Ave.

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