Each year the Keizer Chamber of Commerce presents awards to those in our community who volunteer to make our city a great place to live and work.

Honored on Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Keizer Civic Center, were Bob and Pam Zielinski as Keizer’s First Citizens, Audrey Butler as Merchant of the Year, Kim Phillips won the Service to Education Award and the President’s Award was bestowed on Al and Anne Rasmus.

Joining a long list of illustrative winners of the Keizer’s First Citizen Award were Bob and Pam Zielinski. The Zielinskis have been major pillars in the Keizer community for years. There are few places their touch has not been felt. As owners of Scenic Valley Farms the Zielinski are deeply involved with all things agriculture including memberships on regional, state and national boards and commissions.

Their commitment to our local youth is stellar. For years they opened their home to host athletics, exchange students and contestants for the Distinguished Young Women proram, at the local and state level.

The Zielisnkis have financially supported a large number of organizations and events over the past 20 years. But it is not their financial donations that earned them the well-deserved honor. Neither Bob nor Pam shy away from pushing up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty, you are likely to see them with a shovel in their hand, digging into whatever project they are working on.

Audrey Butler who is a member of and a past president of KNOW, Keizer Network of Women, a Chamber of Commerce group, has been tireless in her work for the Christmas Basket program which distributes food and gift boxes to Keizer families in need. Butler solicits funds and donations for the program throughout the year. She also is an organizer for the Mayor’s Invitational Art Gala. Audrey Butler was recognized for her volunteer work that benefits the Chamber of Commerce and the community.

Kim Phillips, a retired teacher and coach at McNary High School for was given the Service to Education Award. Phillips is popular with students and athletes alike, always pushing her team members to achieve their personal best.

In her 30 years at McNary she has been consummate instructor in the classroom as well as a swimming and golf coach. The swim program, cut last year by the school district, was brought back to life by private donations. Phillips was instrumental in fund raising to save the program.

Al and Anne Rasmus were surprised when they were announced as recipients of the President’s Award presented by outgoing Chamber president Rich Duncan. The Rasmuses were recognized for their years of volunteer service managing and overseeing the operation of the Keizer Heritage Center.

The couple have spent countless hours assuring that Keizer’s historical building remains a viable community center for its tenants including the Keizer Community Library, Keizer Young Life, and the Keizer Art Association. Al Rasmus, as building manager, sees that the old Keizer School and its grounds are kept in good repair.

Anne Rasmus manages the events at the Heritage Center working with those who rent the conference room as well as the patio and gazebo for professional or social functions. When one thinks of the Keizer Heritage Center one can only think of, and thank, Al and Anne Rasmus.

The five people who were honored at the Keizer Chamber’s banquet last Saturday night were just the right winners for this year. All have given to their community for years. They are bring the city’s motto of pride, spirit and volunteerism to life. We should all care about Keizer as much as they.