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Hart Beat

Know someone special?

I was sitting around the other day wondering who might be nominated for the 2005 Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizens Awards. I actually had a few ideas for nominees myself, when I got a call from one of the Chamber board members who was beginning to panic.

Dorothy Leonard, who is chairing the awards banquet set for March 12, is getting nervous because not many nominations have been turned in. And yikes, the nomination deadline is less than a week away.

"We need to ask people to get those nominations into the Chamber office" she said. "But who?"

I'm glad she asked, because I believe there are a lot of people in our community who need to be honored for the myriad of little extras they do to make this a better place to live.

Take, for example, the recently dissolved Sunnyside Library Board, and in particular Mrs. Cloe Garrison, who served the community's library patrons for more than 40 years. She even served on the state library board for a time and her dedication certainly deserves recognition as an outstanding volunteer.

Someone from Jean Woodyard's church ought to nominate her for outstanding senior citizen of the year. A long-time church secretary and kindergarten Sunday School teacher, Woodwood has devoted her spare time to preparing a loving and charming little church bulletin full of newsy notes about the congregation of the First Baptist Church each month.

How about nominating the already busy men and women who give their time to be Girl and Boy Scouts leaders for best educators or for the outstanding community service award?

I also think educators like Sunnyside High School drama teacher Maisy Sylling ought to be public applauded for her ability to take giggly teenagers and make them into actors in her many stage productions. Her presentation of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat alone ought to win her the outstanding educator award, in my humble opinion.

For outstanding new business in 2004, I think someone ought to nominate Gayle Hays, who opened her own beauty school last year. Her efforts have been so successful she has already expanded her services in just under a year.

When talking with Rhoda Giffen, who is manning the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce office, she suggested to help people come up with nominations maybe I could run a list of those people who have been honored in the past.

I have hardly missed a single Chamber of Commerce banquet in nearly 15 years, but even I don't know everyone who has won in the 10 selected categories. But I do know there are still hundreds of nominees who are residents of or who work in Sunnyside, Outlook, Mabton or Bickleton, who ought to be considered for the awards without naming any one person twice. (Rhoda said it is OK to call her at 837-5636 if you're worried about doubling nominating anyone.)

The chamber awards are meant to recognize the deeds of people who are quietly doing their part to enhance the quality of life in Sunnyside. Those individuals or groups aren't always in the headlines. In fact, sometimes, they actually shy away from the public eye.

But each one of us know at least one person whose extra efforts should be honored. So come on Sunnyside, put on your thinking caps and take a look around you.

You know some teenager, maybe your favorite Eagle Scout, who deserves the Outstanding Youth award. Surely you have a favorite health caregiver who goes the extra mile to make his or her patients healthier. I know for certain there is at least one public employee who deserves extra kudos. My vote goes to Judy Essary, the city manager's secretary. I swear she deserves a medal. After all, she gets to hear all of the public's complaints before they ever get to the city manager. The woman has a heart of gold and ears of iron.

So there you have it, a few worthy nomination suggestions. Naturally, I don't think you ought to swipe my ideas. Please, feel free to come up with a few of your own. Only please, submit them in writing, email works too, to the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce no later than Friday, Feb. 18.

Then purchase your awards banquet tickets and celebrate with your nominee at Navarro's Community Center on March 12.

I guarantee it will be a great evening.

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