Hometown Hero Awards announced


May 26, 2022

-File photo

Citizen of the Year for 2020 is Mat Slaybaugh, who is recognized for his contributions at the Garfield County Hospital District, his endless dedication to youth sports, especially wrestling.

POMEROY–The local Chamber of Commerce is playing "catch up" and will celebrate the winners of the 2020 and 2021 Hometown Heroes Community Awards at several locations on June 10–11.

To celebrate two years of awards, the Chamber chose to recognize winners of the Hometown Heroes Community Awards through a series of open houses beginning at the Bank of Eastern Washington on Friday, June 10 from 1-4 p.m. The next open house will take place at the Mall on Main on Saturday, June 11 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

This year, an overwhelming number of excellent nominations for these important community awards were submitted making it a difficult decision for the selection committee.

The 2020 Award Recipients are:

Citizen of the Year is Mat Slaybaugh, who is recognized for his contributions at the Garfield County Hospital District, his endless dedication to youth sports, especially wrestling, and his volunteer service with the Pomeroy Christian Church. As the Citizen of the Year, when it comes to his contribution at the hospital, Slaybaugh says he cannot accept this award without acknowledging his Co-CEO Jayd Keener for everything she does. As mentioned in one of the nominations "they are a great team."

Lifetime Achievement goes to Dave and Nancy Ruark who are celebrated for their achievements with the Eastern Washington Agricultural Museum and economic tourism benefits the museum brings to our community.

Business of the Year is presented to the Bank of Eastern Washington. This entity received several nominations for being very involved in the community, their wonderful customer service, and for being the bank that continues to thrive in our community.

The 2021 Award Recipients are:

Citizen of the Year is Ashley Dixon who is recognized for her leadership in the business community bringing new events to the area, improving local downtown business store fronts and her energy and support for the Public Community Center at the Seeley Theatre.

Lifetime Achievement goes to Muriel Bott who is recognized for her contributions to Garfield County as an excellent historian and her time and efforts given to maintain the Garfield County Museum.

Business of the Year is presented to the Mall on Main. This business was recognized in several nominations for being an exceptionally creative business endeavor that allows multiple artisans in Pomeroy to locally showcase their goods.

The Pomeroy Chamber Award Selection Committee made a decision to create two special awards for this awards season. Chamber Vice President Tom Herres presented the history of Pomeroy Chamber awards dating back to the year 2001. Special awards were given in the years 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005. The 2020 and 2021 special awards are the Community Impact Award and a new permanent award named after its first recipient, the Mark Waldher Volunteer Award.

Special Awards recipients are:

2020 Community Impact Award is Jim Nelson who is recognized for his many contributions to our youth as the school resource officer, personally taking kids with an interest in hunting out into the field, and his dedication to our community as he continues his work advocating for the needs of many as a County Commissioner.

Mark Waldher Volunteer Award goes to Mark Waldher who was mentioned by many in the community and on the selection committee as being the true definition of a volunteer. Mark shovels the sidewalk for many downtown businesses in the wintertime, helps out wherever he can at local businesses, is very supportive of our youth sports and is always eager to visit with his local community members.

The Chamber will sponsor an open house for all award winners at the Blue Mountain Arts Guild. during the June 2022 Tumbleweed event week. All award winners will then be honored in the Pioneer Day Parade, the Garfield County Fair Parade, and Hometown Christmas Parade.

The annual banquet has also honored Chamber awards recipients and tentative plans are for an auction event sometime later this year.


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