'Hometown Heroes' honored by chamber

Local residents who contribute to the community's greater good are honored each year by the Enumclaw Area Chamber of Commerce, which highlights those individuals through its "thanks for giving" dinner.

Each fall, the chamber solicits "hometown heroes" in four categories: individuals, organizations, businesses and "pioneers." That final category is for citizens who have demonstrated a willingness to donate their time and talents through the years.

The fourth annual "thanks for giving" dinner took place Nov. 17 at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars hall. Honored as the top choices in each category were: June Hall, individual citizen; Enumclaw Volunteer Fire Department, organization; The Kettle restaurant, business; and Norma Argo, Pioneer Award.

Hall moved to Enumclaw seven years ago and began her volunteer work at More Pennies from Heaven in 1997. Additionally, she has spent countless hours at Enumclaw Community Hospital, in the Enumclaw School District, with the former Enumclaw Downtown Partnership, helping in the city clerk's office and with the Enumclaw Area Chamber of Commerce.

Other nominees in the "individual citizen" category were Bob Baer, Bob Burke, Jean Clark and Karen Worthington.

Baer, director at the public library, was nominated for his participation in many Rotary community service projects; for his efforts to preserve local history and his work on behalf of the local CROP Walk.

Burke spends three days a week at Enumclaw High School, helping with the woodworking, technology and math programs. He also assists coaches in the golf and fastpitch teams, and videotapes basketball games and shares his military experiences with students.

Clark started the clothing bank for Enumclaw School District students in the fall of 2003. With the help of her husband, kids and other volunteers, many hours are spent getting donation organized for needy families. In one day alone, the clothing bank helped more than 30 families.

Worthington has boosted community groups by helping to raise money. She has worked on behalf of the hospital through its Holiday Fantasy fund raiser, Arts Alive! through the annual auction and the chamber of commerce, through its auction and golf tournament. She also is active in Toys For Tots and the Kiwanis food bank.

Enumclaw's volunteer firefighters dedicate many hours to training, preparing for the moment when they'll be called to protect people and property. When there's an emergency call after 4 p.m. and before 6 a.m., or on holidays and weekends, it will be volunteers responding. Volunteer firefighters can be seen each December, taking Santa for a ride through Enumclaw neighborhoods to pass out candy. In all, they respond to approximately 2,000 calls each year.

Also nominated in the "organization" category was Arts Alive!, a volunteer, non-profit group that has supports the arts and artists on the Plateau for more than 20 years. The group has given more than $250,000 to fund projects in local schools and throughout the community. Arts Alive! has supported such organizations as Stage Door Productions, Plateau Community Players, Crystal Quilters and summer youth theater camps.

The Kettle was honored in the "business" category for the attitude of the owners and staff as much as the quality of the food. In being nominated, it was said owners Dennis and Pat DeAugustine "truly care about the people of Enumclaw" and have created a feeling of "family" within the ranks of regular customers. It was noted the staff shows compassion for those who are hungry and cold and perhaps only the owner knows how many "on the house" meals have been provided.

Other businesses nominated were The Courier-Herald, Movie Gallery, Rainier Tavern and The Printers Inc.

The Courier-Herald, under the direction of Publisher Bill Marcum, has promoted nearly every service organization and donated hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars for the betterment of the community. Employees have been active in Rotary, on the hospital board of directors and on the chamber's board of directors.

The Movie Gallery annually hosts the Christmas Giving Tree at Evergreen Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center. Due to the generosity of the business, and the public, every resident receives a Christmas gift.

The Rainier Tavern has served free Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to members of the community for more than a decade. Owner Joyce Norvel also is working with the Enumclaw Domestic Violence Task Force to send food once a month to a household in need.

The Printers Inc., through owners Paula and Alan Jordan, regularly donates to such events like the Arts Alive! auction, hospital fund raiser and the chamber auction.

Argo is a fixture at Evergreen Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, where she has volunteered in the beauty shop for 15 years. She assists the beauty operator by rinsing and shampooing residents' hair. Due to the volunteer efforts of Argo, and others, residents continue to have their hair cut, set and permed for free.

Other nominees in the "pioneer" category included Lucille Fallen, Byron Parkinson and Janine Prindle.

Fallen also is a volunteer at the Evergreen Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center beauty shop. Female residents have been known to hurry through their breakfasts to get in line, just so they can have their hair set by Fallen, who has been volunteering her time for 14 years.

Parkinson is a longtime resident and Kiwanis member, currently serving that group as president. He donates hours of personal time to the food bank, is in charge of the Kiwanis beer garden at the King County Fair, volunteers as a part-time van driver for the local senior center and has been involved in the Christmas parade.

Prindle has spent 20 years as leader of the Future Vision Guide Dog Club and has raised 28 guide-dog puppies. For her efforts she was previously honored as 4-H leader of the year by King County 4-H. She also is a teacher with the White River School District, where she introduced "Reading with Rover," a program that encourages children to read while having fun with dogs.

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