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Grandview community lauded at awards banquet

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Grandview Chamber of Commerce award winners include (front L-R) Gloria Mendoza, Joan Souders, Erubiel Clara, Omar Gomez and Brad Smith; (back L-R) Bryce Humphreys, Cus Arteaga, Rob Colley and Tony Sanchez.

GRANDVIEW - Last night (Thursday) Grandview community celebrated St. Patrick's Day by recognizing the efforts of its citizens at the Grandview Chamber of Commerce's annual awards dinner and auction at Gemstones Leisure Hall.

The community, itself, was the big winner, though. The community was recognized with two awards, the mayor's beautification and the economic development plaques were awarded to the citizens in Grandview who helped with both the rose garden and the Downtown Alive projects, respectively. Mayor Norm Childress presented the beautification award and Chamber of Commerce Secretary Gordon Franks presented the economic development award.

Both commended the citizens of Grandview involved in those two projects, stating it is not always easy to get an entire community involved in such ventures. "Seattle couldn't even get 100 volunteers for a project like moving the roses for the rose garden," said Childress.

Grandview City Administrator Cus Arteaga accepted the economic development award on behalf of the community, and Sue Johnson accepted the beautification award.

The Rotarian of the year was recognized by Bryce Humphreys. He presented the award to Lou Garcia, who is the club's current president.

Grandview Police Chief Dave Charvet recognized Officer Rob Colley as the outstanding officer of the year. Colley was selected for the honor by his peers for his devotion to the community, its youth and his efforts at nabbing a wanted murderer "single-handedly."

The top responder and outstanding firefighter of the year were named by Grandview Fire Chief Pat Mason. He said the firefighter of the year, Omar Gomez, was also selected for the honors by his peers. Erubiel Clara was named top responder for showing up at 156 of 541 calls.

GMC Training Institute was named the business of the year. The award was presented by Melodie Smith. She said the institute has been a partner with the community, offering citizens the opportunity to learn new skills and providing the chamber of commerce with facilities for the annual awards dinner and auction. The institute's owner, Gloria Mendoza, accepted the award on behalf of her business.

For his time and commitment to the community and various organizations within Grandview, Humphreys was presented an award by Brad Smith. He named the organizations Humphreys commits himself to, including 4-H and Rotary and the Grandview campus of Yakima Valley Community College. Smith noted Humphreys' dedication to seeing the joint library venture between the city and the college through.

The Orrin Dybdahl Youth Award, presented by Cookie Shannon and Kathy Charvet, went to Jim Davidson. He wasn't present to accept the honor, but "that is who he is...someone who doesn't seek recognition for himself." Davidson was honored for his years of service as a Boy Scouts leader and dedication to youth.

Shannon stayed at the podium to next recognize Joan Souders and Sandy Childress with the past service award. The duo for many years worked on the Grandview Community Parade.

Childress was not present to receive her award, but the mayor accepted it on her behalf.

Souders said her efforts on the parade would not be possible without the efforts of others like the mayor and his wife. Turning to the mayor, she noted he has been the parade's announcer.

Next, the chamber of commerce president's wife was caught off-guard with the president's award. Brad Smith told those gathered that his wife Melodie and her daughter spent hours upon hours combing through records and trying to make sense of the chamber's finances when he accepted his position. "She has helped the chamber of commerce and myself in many ways," he said.

Mike Bradshaw of Benton REA presented Tony and Grace Sanchez with the volunteer of the year award. He named the couple and their family because of their volunteer efforts, helping with the annual haunted house and the community float.

Bradshaw was also responsible for presenting the Grandview Community Float with a $500 donation earlier in the evening.

The person of the year, named by Cookie Shannon, was Brad Smith. She recounted his efforts in growing the chamber membership, building the website for the chamber of commerce and dedication to community events.

Blushing, it was clear Smith was taken by surprise. He told those gathered he feels it is a joy to work as the Grandview Chamber of Commerce president because he is proud to call Grandview his home.

The Grandview Chamber of Commerce, in addition to celebrating its community members and St. Patrick's Day, is also celebrating its centennial year.

Those at the annual dinner and auction were treated to birthday cake before the conclusion of the evening.

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