Pride. Spirit. Volunteerism. Three powerful words. Three words that grace the fountain at Newton-McGee Plaza at the corner of River and Chemawa Roads in downtown Keizer. Three words that are, also, the motto of the city of Keizer. 

Those three words also exemplify the winners of the annual awards presented by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce at the First Citizens and Awards Banquet held Saturday, Jan. 19. 

The Chamber (and its predecessor, Keizer Merchants Association) have been honoring Keizerites since the 1960s. The list of Keizer Citizen recipients is a Who’s Who of the city’s leaders in business, community and philanthropy.

Vickie Jackson, who’s community resume includes two terms as president of the Rotary Club of Keizer, volunteer bookkeeper for PTAs and the McNary High School graduation party as well as her work with Keizer’s Distinguished Young Women program and her untold hours of volunteerism with various schools as her two sons made their way through elementary, middle and high school.

The announcement of Vickie Jackson as winner of the First Citizen award was met with a sustained standing ovation from the 200 attendees at Saturday’s banquet. 

Jackson thanked her husband, Randy Jackson, and sons Nick and Cody, for allowing her to spend time away to volunteer. She said that she received more than she gave through her volunteering.

Vickie Jackson is proud of the town she calls home, she does good work with enthusiasm and she volunteers just about anytime anyone asks. 

Kyle Juran, owner of Remodeling by Classic Homes, was announced as merchant of the year for his work for the community and the Chamber itself. 

Juran and his team contributed more than $3,000 of the $13,000 raised at 2018’s Percey Presents event that funds Keizer Network of Women’s Christmas Giving Basket program. That $3,000 came when Juran raffled off a life-size playhouse. All the proceeds from the raffle benefit, in the end, families and children in need during the holidays. Juran used his expertise and talents to help the Chamber prepare and move into its new quarters on River Road. Like all good Keizer volunteers, Kyle Juran never says no when asked to help his community.

Keizer native Brian Aicher was surprised when he was announced as the winner of the Service to Education Award. Like the past few education winners, the focus was on youth sports and its effect on the development of our kids. Aicher, a Salem Electric employee and a longtime mentor,  has coached hundreds of Keizer kids. Whether his time was spent coaching, administering or lifting a hammer or shovel, Aicher has lived the city’s pride, spirit and volunteerism motto to his core.

Each year the Chamber’s leader chooses a recipient for the President’s Award. Bob Shackleford named long-time KeizerFEST and Keizer Iris Festival volunteer Larry Schmidgall for the honor.

Anyone who visited the KeizerFEST tent has seen Larry Schmidgall, who, with his connections oversaw the beverage sales in the tent during the festival for years. He was pressed into service to do other chores during the festival, always with a smile.

Congratulations to all four honorees, who have given selflessly and with a smile. Models for all volunteers.

— LAZ