The Keizer Chamber of Commerce bestowed awards on five deserving Keizer people at its annual First Citizen Awards banquet last week.

Former Mayor Lore Christopher was named Keizer’s First Citizen;  Joe Egli was named merchant of the year; Krina Lee and Chuck Lee were honored as winners of the service to education award.  Dan Clem, who will be moving to Keizer soon but works at the Keizer Chamber working on governmental affairs issues was chosen by Audrey Butler for this year’s president’s award. A committee chooses the winners in all the categories except the president’s award.

Lore Christopher, who served 14 years a mayor, was named First Citizren as much for what she did as mayor as what she hopes to do in Keizer—espeically in the field of the arts.

For the first time the Chamber had five nominees for each award. Christopher’s fellow nominees were Mark Caillier, Don Conat, Rich Duncan and Richard Walsh—any could have won this honor and it would have been a great choice.

Former city councilor Joe Egli was named Merchant of the Year, an honor given to a local businessperson who has volunteered for the benefit of Keizer business in general and the Keizer Chamber of Commerce in particular. Egli is a former president: of Keizer Rotary Club and the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. Aside from his day job as an agent with R. Bauer Insurance, Egli is serving his second year as chairman of the Keizer Iris Festival, the Chamber’s primary fund raising event. Egli matches Lore Christopher as an unwavering booster and cheerleader for Keizer and Keizer businesses.

Nominated for merchant award were Larry Jackson of Jackson’s Body Shop, Shelly Paddock of Shelly’s Kids Preschool and Childcare, Scott White and Kalynn White of Big Town  Hero and Lyndon Zaitz of the Keizertimes.

The Service to Education Award has been presented to teachers, principals and education supporters. This year the dual winners were—as last year’s winner, Ron Hittner called them—Keizer’s education power couple: Krina and Chuck Lee.

Krina Lee is executive director of the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation; Chuck Lee, a Salem-Keizer School Board member and former president of Blanchet Catholic School, is currently president of Mountain West Career Techincal Institute. The institute is scheduled to open in September and provide technical training for up to 100 students its first year.

The other nominees were JoAnne Beilke, Scott Coburn, John Honey and Jim Taylor.

Audrey Butler bestowed the President’s Award on Dan Clem, who oversees the organization’s Economic Development and Governmental Affairs Committee. Clem, who served for 12 years on the Salem City Council, is moving to Keizer. The award is given at the discretion of the president to a person who has had a major impact on the chamber.

Is Keizer just lucky to have so many people who volunteer selflessly to better their community? Luck has something to do with it, but more than that Keizer has designed itself as a city that relies on volunteers. Success attracts success and those who want to do good work have plenty of role models to emulate here in the Iris Capital of the World.

Congratulations to all the winners and the nominees.

—LAZ