Milton-Freewater Chamber distributes annual awards

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MILTON-FREEWATER — A night with the flavor of old Hollywood celebrated the stars of Milton-Freewater on Thursday night as the Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards banquet at the Community Building.

Highlights of the evening included the Chamber’s woman and man of the year awards, which went to Judy Piper and Sam Hopkins-Hubbard. Junior citizen of the year was volunteer and business owner Jill Banks.

Piper is a longtime resident and volunteer in the city whom presenter Mary Jean Arnzen lauded for her kindness, generosity and quiet but substantial work on Logs to Frogs, with the high school drama department and at Frazier Farmstead Museum.

Hopkins-Hubbard is a City Council member, volunteer firefighter and owner of Sam’s Corner Market. Presenter George Gillette highlighted Hopkins-Hubbard’s business, volunteering and civic engagement in his speech. Hopkins-Hubbard was ailing Thursday, so his family and a friend accepted his plaque and — like the other award winners — a four-foot version of an Oscar award.

Educator of the year was Ferndale Elementary School Principal Ron Richwine, whose family accepted the award as Richwine is battling esophageal cancer. Interim schools Superintendent Jim Reger highlighted Richwine’s deep roots in the city — the Ferndale principal is a McLoughlin High School graduate who attended Grove, Freewater and Central schools and started working in the district in 1997.

His son Derek, a Mac-Hi senior and standout athlete and student, was named youth of the year.

The late Darrell Hanan was named the Agri-Business award winner. His widow, Jeanne, accepted the award on his behalf. Chamber President Michelle Thacker bestowed the president’s award on Pam Wildman, Arla June Ruthven was named golden pioneer.

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