DAYTON — Retired Columbia County extension agent Roland Schirman was named Citizen of the Year by the Dayton Chamber of Commerce during the Chamber’s 66th annual awards banquet Thursday evening.
Schirman was cited for his work with the local 4-H program, the Columbia County Fair and the Spokane Junior Livestock Show.
Last year’s award winners, Betty Ann Fletcher and Elaine Hudson, presented the award to Schirman, praising his dedication to improving farming practices.
“Through his 25-year career as our county’s extension agent, he has had a major impact on farming practices in Columbia County, especially with the practice of direct seeding,” Fletcher said.
An Oregon native, Schirman moved to Dayton in 1979 to take the extension job. Besides his agricultural-related volunteer work, he also served on the board of the Columbia County Hospital District for many years.
Schirman is an avid baker and often provides baked goods for hospital functions and other organizations.
During the awards banquet, Chamber Executive Director Brad McMasters introduced the organization’s new tag line: “Expect the Unexpected.” The line will be a feature of the Chamber’s upcoming tourism promotion efforts.
The banquet featured guest speaker George Sharp, who is executive director of the Olympia-Tumwater-Lacy Visitors’ Center Bureau. He is also a founding board member of the Washington Tourism Alliance.
Sharp gave an entertaining presentation encouraging local business owners to look at Dayton and their businesses through the eyes of visitors. He used his own experience as a visitor to town, showing photographs he took earlier in the day and discussing his experiences shopping at local businesses.
Three other community awards were presented during the banquet, including Youth Citizen of the Year, which went to Chelsey Martin, a Dayton High School senior.
Martin is the daughter of Steve and Jody Martin of Dayton. She has been active in student government, as well as Future Business Leaders of America, Youth in Government and the Students Helping Each Other organization.
She has logged more than 100 hours of community service. She has also been a student athlete and cheerleader.
Chuck and Rayleen Sursely, owners of the Country Cupboard Bakery in Dayton, received the Business of the Year award.
The Sursleys moved to Dayton in 2004 from the Seattle area and brought their business with them.
The Country Cupboard is a complete bakery that also serves breakfast and lunch and sells gifts and wine. It is a popular local gathering spot, located in the Main Street building that was the longtime home of Freddy’s Market.
Jennifer Smith-Villaro was presented with the Employee of the Year award. She has been a waitress and manager at the Weinhard Café for 11 years.
Smith-Villaro is a mother of two and has been very active working with the Dayton schools and volunteering and raising money for PTSO.
Also presented during the banquet was a restoration award from the Dayton Historic Preservation Commission. Curtis and Sandi Siess, owners of Threshers Bar and Grill, received the award for the renovation of their commercial building on Main Street.
More than 180 people attended the banquet, which was held at Runnin’ T Ranch, eight miles south of Dayton.