DALLAS — The Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce will highlight the best the town has to offer at its annual Community Awards Friday night.
This year, the chamber will hand out six awards — it had originally taken nominations for five, but included a sixth due to the extraordinary amount of support for one winner — and changed the venue for the dinner and ceremony.
What: Dallas Community Awards.
When: Friday, 6 p.m.
Where: Eola Hills Wine Cellars, 501 South Pacific Highway (99W), Rickreall.
Admission: $45 per person. Purchase tickets at the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce website www.dallasoregon.org. Independence Grill is catering dinner.
Eola Hills Winery will host the celebration, a move DACC Programs Director Ashley Kahl is excited about.
“It’s a warm and intimate venue,” she said. “We are excited to be able to feature their wine.”
The six awards are First Citizen, Junior First Citizen, Organization of the Year, Young Professional of the Year, Business of the Year, and, revived for this year, Lifetime Achievement.
The recipient of the latter, Rose Burgett, aka “Rose of Walmart,” received multiple nominations for First Citizen, but the selection committee didn’t feel she fit the criteria, Kahl said.
But the committee determined her years of service as a greeter at Walmart, a role from which she recently retired, and at other businesses couldn’t go unrecognized.
“We brought back the Lifetime Achievement award because it felt very fitting for her,” Kahl said.
The criteria for Junior First Citizen was revised to those 18 and younger to recognize the work of the community’s future leaders.
“There’s so much negative coverage on kids these days, so I think it’s a really great way for us to highlight kids doing something right,” Kahl said.
While the award winners are no longer kept secret until the ceremony, the presenters are. “The presenters are always a surprise to the winner, so they don’t know who is going to get up and present them the award. It’s kind of fun that way,” Kahl said.
Events Coordinator Bonnie Dreier hinted that one of the presenters is a big deal — and not just for Dallas.
“If you don’t go, you’ll be sad you didn’t,” Dreier said.
Kahl said the chamber wants to revive the interest and prestige of the awards. A past winner, Kahl said even she wasn’t aware of the annual event until she won as part of the business Crunchy Mamas. That needs to change, Kahl said.
“I feel that it should be something that everybody knows about and everybody should try to be a part of,” she said. “It hasn’t been made a big of a deal as it should be, so we as a team are trying to make it a big deal and really play it up, because it should be.”
The winners are:
First Citizen: Stephanie Earhart, the president of the Dallas High School Booster Club, who has been putting in countless hours and effort to raise money to install a turf football field. DACC events assistant Laura May noted Earhart’s dedicated and quiet volunteerism as a reason she was selected for First Citizen.
“She’s very humble,” May said.
Junior First Citizen: Makayli Laizure, a Dallas High School senior, basketball player, and 4-H member, who volunteers to coach younger competitors in sports or 4-H events. “She helps the people she is competing against because she just wants everybody do their best,” May said. “At 18, that’s really impressive.”
Organization of the Year: Polk Community Free Clinic, an organization that offers physical and mental health care to those who are uninsured or underinsured. “It’s no-questions-asked service. I think what was great. When we were doing the selection committee, (we saw) that there really is a need for that,” Kahl said. “You don’t see it in your day-to-day, but in Dallas, we really do have a need for that, and they are fulfilling it.”
Young Professional: Matt Tucker, the owner of Dallas’ Mak Grills. Kahl said Tucker is dedicated to helping other young professionals in the area and to promoting Dallas as a sponsor for and active participant in events around town. “He rolls his sleeves up and gets involved, and that’s his favorite part,” Dreier said. “He loves being in the middle of it.”
Business of the Year: Dallas Dutch Bros.
The famously upbeat customer service and steadfast support of the community is the reason for Dutch Bros being selected Business of the Year, May said. It’s just such truly a culture they’ve created,” she said. “You cannot leave there without a smile on your face.”
Lifetime Achievement: Rose Burgett, the recently retired Walmart greeter. A late addition to the list of awards, Burgett revives the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2018 for her years of greeting customers at Walmart — often by name.
Support for her is so strong that she will be accompanied to the awards by one of the largest contingents Dreier can remember in 11 years of helping organize the event.
“She just has that recognizable face and smile,” Kahl said.