TONASKET — Tim and Julie Alley were named this year’s grand marshals for Founders Day 2019, announced at the annual Tonasket Chamber of Commerce banquet Saturday, Jan. 26.
“I was very surprised. I had no idea,” said Julie Alley. “My friends on the board kept it undercover.”
Alley, who served as President of the Chamber for three years, joined the chamber of commerce with her husband Tim when they moved to Tonasket 13 years ago. The couple own Tonasket Interiors.
“They do a lot for the community,” said Chamber President Marylou Kriner. “Especially Julie. She comes through whenever there is a need. She is always there to help. She also takes in stray cats and finds them homes, and volunteers with the Okanogan Valley Orchestra and Chorus.”
Elected Citizen of the Year for 2019 was Montie Smith.
“Montie has worked on behalf of the Tonasket community for over three decades as an educator and volunteer,” said Kriner.
Positions Smith has served in include educator and librarian for Tonasket School District, where she was instrumental in helping secure the Gates Grant for local youth.
At North Valley Hospital, Smith served in various volunteer capacities over the years including Saving the Nursing Home and Long-Range Focus Committees, director of the Hospital Foundation, supporting public messaging campaigns, working with Strategic Planning, recruitment and succession planning and a long-time champion of keeping healthcare local.
Smith has also volunteered with the Swimming Pool Association, as a committee member and treasurer and helping to secure the building and state health permits.
Smith is currently secretary and a board member for the Tonasket Food Bank, and was the grant writer for a $25,000 state grant that helped the community purchase the current building.
Smith also serves as Warden at St. Annes Episcopal Church in Omak and is a member of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane.
The Citizen of the Year is chosen by a group of previous Citizens of the Year.
Matt Smith accepted the award for his mother, as his parents are currently vacationing in New Zealand.
“I am honored to accept this award for my mom. She takes a lot of pride in working in this community,” said Smith, adding, “She has a lot of fun being a grandma. She really appreciates the award from the chamber of commerce, and really appreciates the recognition.”
The chamber appreciated the community’s donations for the live and silent auctions.
Taking high bid for the evening was a donation by DeTros Western Store in Riverside for hay to be grown this season by Roger Sawyer, which Heather Brownlee bid $380 on.
Sawyer himself purchased $340 worth of goods, including an afghan crocheted by Bertha Wandler which brought in $180.
“We really wanted the afghan. This is the second one of hers we have,” said Sawyer.
Wandler said she put about 30 hours into it.
“That’s a lot of work. Each square has to be done individually,” said Wandler. “Next I have to make one for the Comancheros.”
Kriner said about $4,500 was raised. This is the chambers’ only fundraiser all year.
“It creates all the money to do the programs we sponsor, including Founders Day, Winterfest and bringing the Wenatchee Youth Circus to town,” said Kriner. “The chamber also chooses a business of the month, and pay for two advertisements for the business in the local newspaper.”
Hickman’s Body Shop is the January Business of the Month.
Also recognized at the banquet was Marilee Nielsen, who serves as treasurer.
“We wanted to award her for the outstanding dedication she has given us for the last four years, and her volunteer service throughout the community,” said Kriner. “She spends a lot of hours volunteering for the Booster Club, managing the cheerleaders and running auctions for the school district.”
Dr. Robert Nau, who owns Nau Dentistry in both Tonasket and Okanogan, was recognized for his 38 years serving on the chamber board.
Wayne Verbeck accepted the award for the Kiwanis, voted Organization of the Year.
Heather Kirkcaldy of the Split End Salon took the award for Business of the Year.
Kirkcaldy thanked the chamber for the award, all the people who have supported the business and her coworkers.
“I am truly blessed to have Joy Hirtle Timm and Leesha Cushman in my life,” said Kirkcaldy. “They are two truly amazing ladies to work with. They are two of the most kind-hearted, loving ladies and they both have so much love and care for all of their clients. I am lucky to call them as part of my salon family.”
President Kriner was also recognized at the banquet, given an award with a plaque that read “Our Fearless Leader 2019,” presented by vice-president Aaron Kester.
Kathy Moore, of All-Sew Embroidery, organized the award for Kriner.
“She does such a wonderful job as president, and it’s such a thankless job. She has to step up when no one else does, and I just wanted her to know how appreciated she is,” said Moore. “She’s always trying to come up with things to better our community. She works so hard, and always with a smile on her face.”
Moore said all the awards were made of re-purposed wood and reflected this year’s banquet theme of “The Great Outdoors.”