Madarus named Senior First Citizen at DSA awards banquet


Dave Madarus is the kind of person who makes Lebanon a little brighter, but keeps the spotlight off himself. Through his volunteerism, he elicits smiles from faces young and old. And, as friend Dala Johnson puts it, he’s like the Energizer Bunny who just keeps going.
Madarus was honored as this year’s Senior First Citizen during the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Awards banquet held Feb. 18 at the Boulder Falls Event Center. Johnson, who won the award in 2020, presented him with a plaque.
“I’m totally overwhelmed and humbled by it,” Madarus said.

Madarus hangs a large garland on the restroom facility at Ralston Park last December. File photo

The Polaris RZR enthusiast has been a Lebanon Strawberrian for more than 15 years, and is a member of the Optimist Club. According to Johnson, he spends “countless hours” on Holidays in the Park each year. In addition, he decorates one of Ralston Park’s fences on the Strawberrians’ behalf and does the same for a tree in the name of Willamette Manor Assisted Living Facility. Madarus is also responsible for embellishing the facility with holiday props each year.
“The Manor explodes with Christmas spirit because of him,” Johnson said.
Madarus, who loves Hallmark Channel holiday movies, quoted its 2020 feature, “Christmas with the Darlings,” in response to the accolades: “You do it because it’s the right thing to do, not to brag about it.”
Johnson described Madarus as congenial, resourceful, creative, passionate and empathetic. He goes above and beyond, and follows through with his promises.
“He’s just a wonderful human being,” she said.

Props entertain at Willamette Manor during the 2020 holiday season. File photo

When Johnson first met Madarus almost two decades ago, he managed a Roth’s IGA grocery store and, according to her, was just as giving then. After spending nearly 40 years with the company, he did some private contracting for Willamette Manor until they hired him as their maintenance director. Jen Larsen, its human resources and outreach director, called him a treasure and said they hit the jackpot when he came.

Other distinctions went to Tyler Grove for the Junior First Citizen title, and KJ Ullfers for the Frankie Gray “Answering the Call” award. Gamael “Mr. G” Nassar and Kris Latimer were honored as Man and Woman of the Year. The family-operated Hazella Bake Shop claimed Small Business of the Year honors, and ENTEK was named Large Business of the Year.

A photographer takes a shot of Ambassador of the Year Jenny Sheldon and former winner Jenni Grove. Photo by Sarah Brown

The award for Chamber Ambassador of the Year went to Jenny Sheldon, and Matt Cowart was named Lebanon Chamber Business Leader of the Year. The Lebanon Soup Kitchen received the Nonprofit of the Year award and received a $500 check from Umpqua Bank.
Nonprofit organizations recognized the following volunteers for their community work:
Hand in Hand Farm awarded Siew Cheng Tan for the time she puts in as a volunteer, as well as the “impressive rate at which she accumulates new skills.” (See our story about Tan on page 1).
Strawberry Festival Board named Cindy Kerby Board Member of the Year, and recognized Cindy Ongers, Victoria Dobrkovsky and Andrea Weimer for their dedication and work during the pandemic to make sure the community still had an event of sorts.
Lebanon Downtown Association named Yvette Meyer Board Member of the Year for her “tireless efforts” to keep the organization functioning during the pandemic. Brooklynn Theorodoff was honored as LDA’s Volunteer of the Year for sharing a “zeal-for-life” energy as she worked to promote several events.
The LDA also named the City of Lebanon Community Partnership of the Year for clearing a path for businesses to operate outdoor dining during the pandemic, and for its continued support.

Kris Latimer, right, thanks Jeff Heatherington for his steadfast support of the Boys & Girls Club. Photo by Scott Swanson

Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam honored ENTEK and Jeff Heatherington for their continued commitment.
Lebanon Soup Kitchen recognized Don “Eric” Erickson for stepping up after former kitchen manager Randy Peterson passed away.
Crossroads Community awarded Kim “KJ” Ullfers for his foundational role in implementing the nonprofit after jotting the idea down on a napkin years ago.