It says it right in the city motto: pride, spirit and volunteerism. All three traits can be found in the awards presented by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, January 26.

Each year the Chamber honors and bestows awards on Keizer’s First Citizen, the Merchant of the Year, and the Service to Education Award. The President’s Award is presented by the outgoing Chamber leader.

This year the winners were Sandy and Hank Tarter, Gillian Herndon and McNary Golf Club, Dawn Reichle Bailon and Marlo Cleary.

Sandy and  Hank Tarter were genuinely shocked when they were presented with the Keizer’s First Citizen Award on Saturday. The Tarters owned and operated Tarter’s Keizer Collision Center until recently when they sold the business and decided to retire.

Sandy and Hank are as proud of their city as anyone. They have been long-time residents and the business they started in 1988 had gained a stellar reputation in the community for its service. The Tarters never shied from community involvement—they have been big Iris Festival champions for years and supported Keizer schools and sports programs. Their spirit, exemplified by their never-fading smiles, is infectious.

As Sandy Tarter told the Keizertimes, she and her husband Hank are not known for large gestures but for giving to their community every day. And that’s what makes a First Citizen.

Also honored on Saturday was Gillian Herndon, manager of McNary Golf Club. as Merchant of the Year.  She was recognized for overseeing the club’s 50th anniversary last year, her work with the Chamber’s community projects including the Gift Basket Program, Wallace Days and the Iris Festival.

Herndon shared the spotlight with Tom Fischer, the president of the Board of Directors and Larry Bent, manager of the Pro Shop.

Dawn Reichle Bailon and Marlo Cleary are deserving recepients of the Service to Education Award because they certainly serve students.

The two were honored for their intramural sports programs at McNary High School. Each year more than 200 students have been involved in the program which instills dependability, accountability and social interaction in those who might otherwise be overlooked. The students interact with others they might not usually associate with; the program provides athletics for those who don’t compete in regular school sports.

Reichle Bailon and Cleary don’t just provide afterschool activities. There are requirements the participants must adhere to such as no unexcused absences.

The award winners truly have a positive impact on Keizer kids and McNary High School. The honor is richy deserved for the two teachers who are saw a need and filled it.

Former City Councilor Richard Walsh was presented the President’s Award by Rob Miller, the immediate past president of the Chamber.

Many people one or two of traits of Keizer’s motto. Richard Walsh embodies all three—in spades.

He is proud of his city, what it was, what it is and what he hopes it will be in the future. He has a boundless spirit that guides him to achieve goals others think are imposible. Cited on Saturday night were his tireless efforts to connect Keizer to the Willamette River with the greenways project but primarily for his vision and work on making Keizer Rapids Park a reality.

He volunteered as a city councilor for 10 years and he continues as chairman of the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Walsh never sees a problem that can’t be solved and that makes him a value to the city of Keizer.

All of Saturday’s nights award winners are valuable to Keizer’s present and definitely its future. They are all role models for the city’s next generation of leaders.