Kristin Hyde, Tom Oliver top honorees at ’80s-themed DSA gala

The evening was totally rad March 6 as the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Distinguished Service Awards banquet with a big-time crowd and an “Awesome 80s Prom Night” theme.

Some of Lebanon’s involved community members attended the event wearing anything from a beautiful prom gown – some actually from the ‘80s – to more of a punk rock style, and a couple men were seen sporting a Miami Vice fashion.

It was righteous, man.

As one attendee pointed out, the early ‘80s started out with a sort of sweet 16 elegance, but the decade morphed into and ended with a punk style that included layers of necklaces over black clothing, thanks in part to the influence of Madonna and Pat Benatar.

These gnarly, trend-setting fashions were a fun highlight to the annual affair, with Dr. John Pham, of COMP-Northwest, emceeing the event to help formally recognize the totally tubular people of Lebanon who diligently work to make it a phat place to live.

Here are the winners:

Man of the Year – Tom Oliver
Last year’s winner, Tré Kennedy, presented the chamber award, noting that those who nominated Oliver said he has an unbending integrity, is always willing to lend a hand, and is thoughtful and has a willingness to listen. Kennedy added that Oliver is a calming voice with an eye  toward collaboration and progress.

“As parents, we always want the best for our kids. I can honestly say that Tom Oliver has made Lebanon a better place for me and for my kids.”

Woman of the Year – Kristin Hyde
Lori Hill, last year’s winner, listed numerous organizations Hyde has participated in and financially supported. Some of these include service at the Lebanon Soup Kitchen, participation with the economic development committee, and board trustee with the Lebanon Community Foundation.

“As an esteemed leader of one of our leading financial institutions, Kristin has made substantial impacts in our community over the years, year after year supporting entities such as the Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Santiam, Lebanon Community Foundation, ABC House, Linn-Benton Food Share, Linn-Benton Community College, and the United Way of Linn County, just to name a few,” Hill said.

Senior First Citizen – Warren Beeson
Beeson was honored for his contributions to Lebanon since the 1970s, including working with the Lebanon Community Foundation, Star Spangled Celebration, Lebanon Boys and Girls Club, Lebanon School Board, the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce, Strawberrians, and Rotary.

His final service for the community is his work to fund and build the new dog park located at Bob Smith Park (see story on page 1). Beeson announced he will be moving to Tennessee next month, but enjoyed a “long and fun ride” in Lebanon.

“When I look back over the years, it’s not the things that you do, it’s the people and the friends you make,” he said. “It’s a nice thing to be a part of a community and see it get better and more things happening in the community that weren’t there before. So I’m grateful for all that, I encourage anyone to keep doing those good things.”

Junior First Citizen – Rose DixonBarry
Last year’s recipient, Jennifer Larsen, noted some of DixonBarry’s service, including assisting with the kids backpack program; volunteering at Lebanon High School Cheer and the Optimist, Booster, and Boys and Girls clubs; and finding ways to raise money for nonprofits.

One person who nominated DixonBarry remarked, “If nothing else can be said about Rose’s dedication to making Lebanon a better place, the love and the energy she pours into her children should be enough.

“After all, isn’t that what will build Lebanon’s future?”

Umqua Bank Nonprofit of the Year – Dala’s Blue Angels
Dala’s Blue Angels was awarded a $500 donation from Umpqua Bank as its Nonprofit of the Year.

“A child’s shoulders are not built for carrying the weight of child abuse,” said Jolene Watson. “For the last six years this group has dedicated themselves to removing that weight from victims past, present and future.”

Frankie Gray “Answering the Call” Award – Cindy Ongers
Ongers was chosen for the award, which honors those who, like Gray, tirelessly serve the Lebanon community.

Among her many activities, Ongers volunteers with the Lebanon Chamber, Lebanon Garden Club, New Business Generations, Boys and Girls Club, and Lebanon Strawberrians.

“She serves with good health and an abundance of energy,” said Shelly Garrett, executive director of the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce. “Helping others makes her happy.”

Business Leader of the Year – Marty Cahill
Cahill, CEO of Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, was named this year’s Business Leader of the Year because of his role in moving forward a number of key projects in the Lebanon community which have significantly benefited local citizens, Garrett said.

She described Cahill as “always displays an upbeat, can-do attitude and is willing to assist everyone who brings him a problem. He is creative in finding solutions, too.”

Volunteer of the Year – Kelly Odegaard
Garrett said Odegaard, executive director of the Oregon Veterans Home in Lebanon, is a chamber board member who serves on several committees and boards, and makes the Veterans Home accessible to organizations that need a place to meet.

Odegaard is always willing to help put up a booth tent, place tape on the floor at the Biz Expo, or cut the cake at a banquet, Garrett said.

“Honestly, the most disagreeable jobs where I need help, I can always count on Kelly to be the one to show up,” she said. “I do want to mention that he is often in a three-piece suit, but he just rolls up his sleeve and goes to work.”

Small Business of the Year – Lebanon Animal Hospital
The award went to Dr. Connie Schmidt of Lebanon Animal Hospital for demonstrating a spirit of community by providing free pet clinics at the Lebanon Soup Kitchen, reduced cost spay/neuter vouchers to SafeHaven Humane Society, and supporting the county’s youth by purchasing 4H livestock at the Linn County Fair.

“A big believer in the Lebanon Boys and Girls Club, she quietly supports the kids on a regular basis,” said presenter Bill Flesher. “She provides opportunities for OSU veterinary students to learn and practice their skills, and most recently Connie  has lead the team in the development of the Lebanon Dog Park.”

Large Business of the Year – Lowe’s Regional Distribution Center
Lowe’s was honored for providing help to “just about every organization in Lebanon,” said Bill Flesher, who presented it.

Lowe’s, which employs more than 600 local residents, encourages its employees to conduct food and school supply drives, and once a year sends a team to work on a school or nonprofit project as a ‘Lowe’s Heros Project.’

Lowe’s and its employees support the Lebanon Boys and Girls Club, United Way, Lebanon Chamber of Commerce, Runaway Pumpkin, Shop with a Cop, Habitat for Humanity, and National Night Out.

Community Awards
Sponsored by Gateway Imprints, these went to: Lebanon Strawberrians, Debbie Mitchell-Pullman; Boys & Girls Club, LeAnn Kennedy and COMP-Northwest; Lebanon Downtown Association, Sugar Vibes and Gateway Imprints and Yvette Meyer; Lebanon School District, Susan Norris and Anne Williams; Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital Auxiliary, Karen Richardson and Glenna Sloan; Coach of the Year, Amanda Vorderstrasse; Rotary Club of Lebanon, Judy Hill; Lebanon Chamber Ambassadors, Myra Ullfers; Optimist Club, Dala Johnson; Lebanon New Business Generations, Cindy Ongers; Strawberry Festival, Shyla Malloy.