By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
The Keizer Chamber of Commerce First Citizen Banquet Saturday, Jan. 21, proved to be a night of unexpected surprises.
In the end, four longtime Keizer volunteers received recognition for efforts that span into every corner of the community.
The First Citizen Award went to Jim Trett, a former spokesperson and public education officer for the Keizer Fire District and continuing volunteer with Keizer youth; Bob Shackelford, a real estate broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, was named Merchant of the Year; Larry Smith, a longtime coach and mentor in Keizer sports received the Service to Education Award; and Dave Walery was honored with the President’s Award by Scott White, the outgoing president of the Keizer Chamber board of directors.
Trett was introduced by Mark Caillier, the 2015 recipient of the award.
“When I received the award last year, I went and talked with other first citizens to ask them about their experience and what receiving it had meant to them,” Caillier said. “Mostly, they felt like they couldn’t slow down to honor the spirit of the award. I think our honoree this year is going to raise the bar for volunteerism in Keizer.”
Trett’s list of volunteer efforts nearly caused Callier to run out of breath, but include: mentoring and fostering youth, membership in the Oregon ski patrol, city councilor, mayor, and basically volunteering for any task he’s ever been asked to be part of at Whiteaker Middle School. Many former students will remember him as the man who trained them to receive their first aid or CPR certifications.
In accepting the honor, Trett, who had been lured by friends to the banquet from his home in Detroit, said that what he gets back from volunteering far outweighs what he gives.
“When I was volunteering as a Big Brother, I had a kid who was hard to draw out, but I would put my arm around his shoulder and tell him it’s going to be okay,” Trett said. “One day, I ended up taking care of him after having a hard day and I told him about it. Soon enough, his arm went around me and he was telling me, ‘It’s going to be okay.’ I told him, ‘It just got a lot better.’”
In accepting the Merchant of the Year Award, Shackelford had to compose himself before taking the stage.
Shackelford’s presence in the community as a volunteer has grown exponentially in the past year as he took the reins of the Chamber’s Men of Action group and gotten its members involved with everything from tidying up street corners to assisting local elderly residents with cleaning up homes. He’s also taken on volunteer roles in city-formed boards.
“It’s a great pleasure to receive this award. A great many people I look up to have received this award in the past. I love Keizer and I love doing everything I do,” Shackelford said.
Smith was a coach at McNary High School and several youth sports in the area, but he was as much a presence off the fields as he was on them, said John Honey in introducing him.
“Larry taught kids the difference between right and wrong, developed confidence in every single student, helped athletes develop trust and confidence in their teammates, helped players understand the need to get the job done and made sure each one knew that, win or lose, they were loved and respected,” Honey said.
Smith’s daughter spoke for him in accepting the award.
“Our dad taught us all our lives that it was better to be a giver than a receiver. My dad did the things he did to make an impact on kids’ lives and he would encourage all of you to do the same,” she said.
In accepting the President’s Award, for the second time in 21 years, Walery said he was grateful for the chemistry he and White developed as co-chairs of the Iris Festival, but like Trett, noted that the true rewards are found elsewhere.
“I’m proud to get the job done. What you guys give me back is just smiles and that ‘s what it’s all about,” Walery said.