TONASKET — Longtime auctioneers and business partners Daryl Asmussen and Dal Dagnon were awarded the business of the year award at the annual Tonasket Chamber of Commerce banquet Thursday, Jan. 25.

“This business has really been an institution in this community,” said Clint Duchow, chamber recording secretary. “About eight years ago, my wife and I bought a little hobby farm south of town and decided we wanted to raise a couple cows.”

Duchow said at around midnight one evening he heard a knock on his door.

“(I) open the door and there is a seasoned cowboy standing at the door,” he said. “As I remember it, he (Dagnon) told me two sentences. He said, ‘Your cows are out. And cows are really fun.’”

Asmussen and Dagnon, who have owned and operated D&D Auction Service for nearly half a century, accepted the award.

“Thank you, guys, for this,” Dagnon said. “Daryl and I have been partners for probably 40 years. But we’ve got Jerry (Asmussen) now helping us and Lloyd Cayton (Jr.) … younger guys doing a better job than we are. So hopefully this business won’t die when Daryl and I quit.

“I was thinking a little bit about what this auction (service) has meant to this community over the years,” Dagnon said. “And in about 50 years, in fundraisers, like the one tonight, we have donated probably close to a million and a half dollars worth of services that have raised money for the community. It’s been fun, we enjoy it.”

The chamber also presented an organization of the year award to the Tonasket/

Okanogan Valley Lions Club and The Samaritan Riders of Washington State.

“It’s a pretty good testament to our little town,” Duchow said of the Lions Club. “Within their first couple of years … they ended up donating about $50,000 to the survivors of the Carlton Complex fire and the Omak (Okanogan) Complex fire, and all the fires that we’ve had over the last few years.

“They gathered money from all across the country.”

Duchow noted the group organizes the annual Howl-O-Ween dog walk each October, hosts a mobile visual and audio medical screening event, and sponsors a local resident to attend a youth camp.

“We are one of those organizations where every dollar that comes to us as a donation or a fundraiser goes back to the community,” said Lions Club member Cathy Bailey. “We pay our own administration funds with our dues.

“We really appreciate everybody that helped out with all of our projects,” she said.

“It’s amazing that we have the community that we do.”

The Samaritan Riders of Washington State was founded in 2009 and “do some phenomenal stuff,” Duchow said.

“The thing that we most know them for … every year they pick out two kids that really need the support of the community and an organization, and they sponsor them as much as they possibly can,” Duchow said. “Raising money for medical bills, and just helping out their family. It’s pretty amazing the work that they do to really impact those people’s lives that are going through such a struggle.”

Duchow said the group has also been instrumental in helping with local veterans’ events.

Chamber President Mary Lou Kriner presented the 2018 Tonasket Founders’ Day grand marshal award to Roger and Lori Sawyer.

“They have done all kinds of stuff for the rodeo, tractor pulls and everything else,” Kriner said.

“It’s kind of a surprise,” Roger Sawyer said after receiving the award. “I like to work with communities. I chose the Comancheros.

“It used to be just the rodeo,” he said. “Then they added the demolition derby. The facility down there is so nice, we knew it needed more use, so we started adding other events.

“I’m doing it for everyone sitting here, the rest of the town,” Sawyer said. “I sure as heck wasn’t doing it for something like this. I just like doing something for the community and trying to keep this town nice and tight, close together.”

The final award of the evening, citizen of the year, was presented to Norm Weddle.

“Our citizen of the year is a retired school teacher. He has taught music up and down the valley,” presenter Sam Nau said. “He is also the chairman of the (Ellisforde) Church of the Brethren, where he directs the music, maintains the building and also maintains the organ and piano.

“He also is the founder and the current president of the Tonasket Swimming Pool Association and (Tonasket) Parks and Recreation District.”

“Things get done when you have a good committee,” Weddle said. “We raised almost $1 million; it really worked out well.”

Along with the evening awards celebration, a prime rib dinner was catered by Shannon’s Place, accompanied with a live and silent auction.

Figures from the auctions were not available at Chronicle press time.

This year’s chamber officers include Kriner, president; Aaron Kester, vice president; Duchow, recording secretary; Kris Duchow, corresponding secretary, and Marilee Nielsen, treasurer.

Board members include Dale Crandall, Doug London, Heather Kirkcaldy and Lee Orr.

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