The Dayton Chamber of Commerce announced the selection of the 2020 Community Choice Awards on March 3rd. Each year, nominations are taken for exceptional citizen, employee, business and youth, and a committee made up of a cross-section of the community makes the selections. Although the awards couldn’t be presented at the annual banquet, the Chamber felt it was especially important to pay tribute to these outstanding individuals.
Citizen of the Year: Denise Hoon
Denise is a dedicated community volunteer who gives of her time to many local organizations including Skyline Juniors, Lions Club, Touchet Valley Golf Course, Dayton Historical Depot Society, and the First Congregational Church. Denise is constantly and tirelessly volunteering her time cleaning and sprucing up the grounds at the church, depot, and golf course. Her efforts help keep Dayton looking its best. She does all this while frequently traveling out of town to help with family. And although she’s retired from the Dayton School District, she spent 2020 working as a substitute teacher.
Employee of the Year: Martha Lanman
As Administrator of Columbia County Public Health and Garfield County Health District, Lanman has been instrumental in protecting our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has worked to provide information, education and other needed materials to help keep citizens informed and safe.
“Martha is without question, an incredibly bright, savvy, multi-tasker who willingly set aside her own downtime and free time to focus on creating a positive outcome for our county and for our neighbors in Garfield County,” wrote one nominator.
Martha is also a powerful advocate for community health, not just with COVID-19 but with ongoing education for youth and teens for the prevention of smoking and drug use. In addition to her role as administrator for public health, she serves on multiple boards, including the Blue Mountain Station Coop Market, the Columbia County Community Network and the Friends of the Dayton Community Center/Pool.
Business of the Year: Chief Springs Fire and Irons Brew Pub and Pizzeria
Ann and Mike Spring, owners of Chief Springs Fire and Irons Brew Pub and Pizzeria went above and beyond this year to serve the public. With all the COVID-19 regulations and a fire that destroyed their pizza ovens, they remained open and employed many people. They expanded their patio with a vintage fire truck and propane heaters, provided masks for customers who didn’t have them and supported the few local events that could be held in 2020. Both Mike and Ann give back to the community. Mike serves as a fire commissioner for Columbia County Fire District #3 and Ann is a member of the Dayton Development Task Force.
Youth Citizen of the Year: Makenna Culley
Makenna has been a leader in the Dayton High School Associated Student Body for the last two years. In serving as vice president last year and president this year, Makenna has planned many activities for her fellow students. “She has brought enthusiasm, commitment, her love of Dayton and her vision to reenergize the student body at DHS,” it was noted in her nomination form. “It’s during the unusual circumstances of 2020 where her leadership and character has really shown through.” Examples of her leadership include sending postcard hellos to every student during the shutdown last spring, reinvigorating morning announcements with humor to build school community, creating video announcements during distance learning for teachers to share during first period and virtually hosting student council meetings.
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