Jonathan Thompson and Kyle Juran

In addition to naming Kim Freeman Keizer’s First Citizen, the Keizer Chamber of Commerce lauded three other community members for their service.

Jonathan Thompson, owner of Northwest Dental Art & Sleep Therapy with his wife Jennifer Frankel, was named Merchant of the Year for the way he dug in and helped the chamber, and other chamber members, ride the upheaval of the pandemic.

“He is a true champion for small businesses. My favorite story is watching him taking it upon himself to mentor the owner of a Keizer business and even helping them secure funding,” said Dave Walery, the outgoing Merchant of the Year.

In accepting the award, Thompson thanked members of his family and employees who often take on extra work to make space for Thompson’s chamber duties.

“We’ve been through a lot this year: a global pandemic, fires and ice storms. I’m pretty sure the locusts are just over the hill. We’ve faced it all as a team and we’ve come out stronger for it,” Thompson said.

McNary High School choir director Joshua Rist received the Service to Education Award.

Joshua Rist and Craig Williams

When presenter Tammy Ready asked McNary Principal Erik Jespersen what makes Rist unique, she received a Top 10 list in return.

“[Josh’s] positivity is infections. He is genuine in every day and every way and he is generous with his time and also his heart,” were just a few of the merits Jespersen cited.

Rist called the award “deeply encouraging.”

“Our students in Keizer are really special. They are optimistic in the face of adversity, kind in the face of differences between each other, and delightfully musical and creative when given the opportunity and proper encouragement,” Rist said.

Thompson, who performed as acting president of the chamber for much of the past year alongside Walery, presented the President’s Award to Jason Lewis, owner of Lewis Media Group, an affiliation of local media production and design pros that offer an array of services.

Jason Lewis and Randy Moseley

“When the fires hit last summer, Jason immediately called me to ask what could be done. I told him there were animals on the way to the fairgrounds and we needed everything from horse bridles to feed. Jason figured out a way for us to do it online and we raised a significant amount of money for the cause when he did,” Thompson said.

In accepting the award, Lewis thanked his family and gave special attention to his parents.

“My challenge has always been that I’m kind of a nerdy introvert,” Lewis said. “To help me come out of my shell, dad had me learn to play banjo and perform for family and friends.”

He quoted a line from a Dan Fogelberg tune, Leader of the Band, “Papa I don’t think I’ve said I love you near enough.”