John Doneth accepts the 2013 Keizer First Citizen Award Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Keizer Civic Center. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

John Doneth accepts the 2013 Keizer First Citizen Award Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Keizer Civic Center. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

John Doneth was named Keizer’s 2013 First Citizen at a banquet at the Keizer Civic Center last Saturday night.

Doneth was a popular choice as his selection was met with a rousing standing ovation. The award, along with three others, are presented annually by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce.

Last year’s First Citizen award winners, Hank and Sandy Tarter, announced this year’s winner.

“This year’s winner definitely shows pride, spirit and volunteerism,” announced Tarter.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” said Doneth, “when they got to the University of Michigan, it was a tip off.” Doneth, a Michigan native, is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

“I was a real treat” getting the award “since it was Hank (Tarter) doing it.  I have a lot of respect for Hank and Sandy; it was a special moment.”

In the late 1970s when he and his new wife were searching for a home they settled on Keizer because of its strong youth sports organizations.

Doneth, 64, became involved with Keizer Little League, eventually  serving as an umpire, a board member and president. He has served the Keizer community in various capacities for more than three decades.

For the city he has served on the Keizer Volunteer Coordinating Committee and the Emergency Planning Committee. He was chairman of the board of the Catholic Community Services Foundation, as well as chair of the McNary High School Sports Booster Club.

Doneth has also served as president of Keizer Rotary Club, Keizer Chamber of Commerce and Salem Executives Association. He was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the Salem Chamber of Commerce.

“When I moved the business to Keizer from south Salem, Christine Dieker asked me to be president of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce,” Doneth said. “If you are going to be in Keizer you have to support local businesses and organizations.”

Doneth, the first Certified Financial Planner in the Salem area, retired a 2010 as a representative with LPL Financial; his son, Jason, renamed the agency Doneth Wealth Management and now runs the office.

Born and raised in East Lansing, Mich., Doneth is a graduate of the University of Michigan and remains a fervent fan of the Wolverines.

Also honored at the banquet were Robert Miller as merchant of the year. Miller is a member the family that founded Ben’s Rentals which is now Hertz Equipment Rental. Miller, a past president of the Keizer Chamber, was cited for his unending volunteering and donations to the chamber and the community.

Ron Hittner was presented the Service to Education Award for his work with Keizer youth as a basketball coach.

For the first time ever two President’s Awards were presented in one night. Former City Councilor Mark Caillier was presented an award by current Chamber president Derik Milton.  Caillier was honored for his volunteer work with the city of Keizer and community organizations such as the Keizer Community Library and the Keizer Art Association, among others.

Milton made a surprise announcement later in the evening that a second President’s Award was to be presented.  He called up Eileen Taylor, mother of recipient, Jim Taylor, choir director at McNary High School. She read a letter from John Honey, principal of McNary on why Taylor should be honored.

The Keizertimes will profile Caillier, Miller and Taylor in upcoming issues.