Chamber CEO Marnie Uhl handed out the awards during the annual banquet at the Prescott Resort.
But first on the program, Uhl surprised outgoing Board Chairman Chris Kuknyo by interrupting his speech with a song from Barbra Streisand, aka Laura Van Dran.
Kuknyo continued his speech after turning beet red. Then, it was time for award recipients to blush, as most of them did not know they were receiving the honors.
A selection committee chooses the award recipients from nominations submitted by community members. The selection committee is comprised of Uhl, the chairman of the Chamber board of directors, a member of the clergy, a member of the town council, a school board member, and a community member at large.
Following are the 2011 Chamber Community Service Award honorees:
Citizen of the Year - Rich Adler
"Rich has dedicated the past eight years to the students, teachers and staff of Humboldt Unified School District as a school board member," his nominator said. "Rich also serves on the Legislative Committee for the Arizona School Board Association.
"Rich has been a volunteer with the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce working the Valley of Lights donation booth every Christmas Eve. He has been instrumental in working with the Chamber, the Jewish Community Foundation and Temple B'rith Shalom to have a Menorah display built for the Valley of Lights.
"Rich is much loved and appreciated by his wife Leslie who says that he has been the most amazing man and husband who has taken so very good care of her."
Norm Pariseau Volunteer of the Year - Leslie Adler
Her nominator said, "Leslie Adler is an outstanding volunteer for Stepping Stones Agencies. Recently she spent the better part of three months helping update a local resource manual for a training class that Stepping Stones offers. This entailed calling over 200 local agencies, confirming information and updating the document.
"Leslie also greeted guests at the recent Fashion Show fundraiser event and helped with many behind the scenes activities preparing for it. Leslie is a tremendous volunteer who fills the gaps for Stepping Stones which is especially helpful during extremely tight budget years. On June 1, 2011 the Prescott Valley Tribune featured Leslie and her battle with a very rare disease, Erdheim-Chester Disease. Even with this challenge in her life she is always upbeat and very reliable."
Student of the Year - Dakota King
"If his performance and activities in high school are any indication, Dakota King has a bright and positive future ahead of him," his nominator said.
"Dakota has maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout his years at Bradshaw Mountain High School.
"He works with Big Brothers, Big Sisters in a weekly mentoring program, and helps at Granville Elementary School with their book fairs and PTO events. He has participated in the annual Walmart Teacher Appreciation Breakfast since his freshman year and plays with the Pandemonium steel drum band.
"Dakota is a College Bowl Math finalist, Marching Band member, Drama Pit ensemble, Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble member and a member of the Chess Club. Dakota is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, a national math society and the National Honor Society. He was president and vice president of the Bradshaw Mountain High School Band and Low Brass Section Leader for the BMHS Band.
"Dakota has also been recognized by other organizations receiving the Elks Most Valuable Student, the Prescott Valley Rotary Club Student of the Month and the Principal's Leadership award. He was also the 2011 Salutatorian for his graduating class at Bradshaw Mountain High School."
Prescott Valley Heritage Award - Mike Flannery
"Mike Flannery has been instrumental in founding many important organizations within Prescott Valley and throughout the region. Whether dealing with veterans' issues, or recreational and community organizations...from economic development to water and transportation, Mike has been at the forefront, fostering change and improvements for more than 30 years," his nominator said.
"Mike served his country in the Army and was awarded three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. Mike's service to the community and his involvement with its growth is nothing short of amazing. Shortly after moving to Prescott Valley, Mike became deeply involved in the town and his enthusiasm for this exciting, growing community has never waned. It started with the General Plan of 1994, which took 40 members of the community a year and a half to complete. Mike became the chair of the Economic Development Sub Committee, which made many recommendations to increase job opportunities in Prescott Valley.
"After the 1994 General Plan, Mike was part of a committee to create a new Economic Development organization. Mike participated in the writing of the bylaws for Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation and went on to become the founding President of PVEDF from 1996-1999, at which time he stepped down to take an appointment on the www.pvaz.net/index.aspx?page=54">Prescott Valley Town Council.
"In 1993, while working on the General Plan, Mike became a PV Parks and Recreation Commissioner where he served six years as commissioner and two as chairman. Among their major achievements were building a community pool in 1995, Mountain Valley Splash, and creating the PV Amphitheater with the first community concert in 1996, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
"As a council representative, Mike was a founding member and first president of the Central Yavapai Transportation Planning Organization (CYMPO) when it was formed in 2003. He helped write the bylaws and served as president again in 2004 and 2009. He also served as a member of the Executive Board of Arizona's Rural Transportation Advocacy Council involved in statewide planning.
"Recognizing "There is strength in numbers," Mike was instrumental in founding most of the regional water organizations active today. Individually we had little clout; working together these organizations have elevated Prescott Valley and their partners to a position of strength.Mike worked on many of their bylaws and over his time represented Prescott Valley as chairman of Northern Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, and vice chairman of the Upper Verde River Watershed Protection Coalition.He has also served as co-chair for the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee for the last few years.
"Mike has served as a Prescott Valley Town Council member since first being appointed to the position in 1998. He was elected in 2000, won re-election twice, serving as vice mayor from 2004-2006. He retired from the council on June 9 after 12 years of continuous service.
"Armed with his talent for understanding and writing bylaws, Mike helped several other local organizations with their startups. He was on the original committee that formed the Boys and Girls Club of Central Yavapai and wrote the bylaws for New Horizons Independent Living Center when they were formed.
"Mike Flannery exemplifies the qualities of the Heritage Award."
Community Booster Award - Arlene Alen
"Arlene works selflessly with multiple nonprofits both as CEO/executive director and as director of marketing and development," her nominator said. "She sits on the boards of others including West Yavapai Guidance Clinic and Horses with HEART as well as runs a consulting and grant-writing entity that often does work pro bono. She is also on the National Board of Trustees of PATH as well as the leadership team for the Arizona Association of Economic Developers and will be in the new Prescott Area Leadership class.
"Arlene has been working diligently at the Chamber for more than five years with membership and has been active in nonprofit since relocating here five-and-a-half years ago. She has brought businesses and nonprofits to the Chamber and everyone appreciates her very special cookies.
"Arlene evangelizes both the nonprofit world in Prescott Valley but also the Town and brings great information and tools which she donates along with her services to improve our nonprofits, businesses and community. We at Neighbor to Neighbor, given the economy, cannot pay Arlene more but we can honor her selflessness and diligence in keeping our over 700 clients in the forefront of the legislature, donor and our town. She has dedicated herself to our mission and we and all our clients are thrilled to have her working with us and Prescott Valley."
Chamber Member of the Year - Fry's Food Store, Mgr. Gene Draper
"Fry's Store in Prescott Valley has consistently given back to the community at all levels. Their support and contributions to the non-profit community and local organizations are testament to the pride they have in the relationships they have with their customers, their families and business partners," the nominator said.
"Fry's is the location sponsor for the Chamber's annual Flying High Turkey Drive and contributes many turkeys as well as offering them for purchase by donors for lower prices. They also contribute on daily basis to the Yavapai Food Bank
"Fry's helps sponsor the Valley of Lights by providing the food and snack items for the volunteers as well as providing support through the donations of food items to Team Up to Clean Up and Battle of the Bands.
"Store manager Gene Draper and his staff are always ready to assist the chamber and other organizations when asked."
Community Improvement Award, Large Project - Mountain Valley Park
"Already an award-winning park, Mountain Valley Park received improvements that will make it an outstanding example of a community destination that offers an abundance of additional recreational opportunities as well as create a beautiful oasis in an urban area," the nominator said.
"The Town of Prescott Valley constructed a new multi-use path in Mountain Valley Park adjacent to Loos Drive, that provides connectivity throughout the northern section of the park between the Boys and Girls Club to Mountain View Elementary School.
"The Town also constructed a new multi-use exercise path in Mountain Valley Park surrounding the new artificial turf field. The new multi-use path provided connectivity within the interior of the park uniting it many amenities.
"Between the two path projects, more than 250 trees were added to Mountain Valley Park. Over time, these trees will mature and provide a beautiful canopy in the park for future generations to enjoy."
Community Improvement, Small Project - Bennett Clinic
"Taking an empty piece of land and constructing a beautiful and state-of-the-art medical complex is quite a project," the nominator said. "But when you have a collaboration of successful businessmen, anything can be accomplished.
"Such is the case with the new Bennett Clinic building on Florentine. It is a product of the teamwork between Dr. Wayne Bennett, a Board Certified Chiropractic Orthopedist, and Dr. Fred Fenderson, a Doctor of Dental Surgery. Each opened Prescott Valley branches of their clinics in their half of the 9,000-sq.-ft. building late in 2010.
"The building is landscaped to take advantage of the natural beauty of the area and compliments the attractive architecture of the building.
"This building not only brought two well-established businesses to Prescott Valley but also made a significant improvement in the area that is fast developing into the center of Prescott Valley's medical and health care services."
Organization of the Year - Community Pregnancy Center
"This organization, under the direction of Laurie Volcheck, makes everlasting differences in the loves of many women, young and old, men and couples," the nominator said. "They have clients from all over the Quad-cities, as well as Ash Fork, Kirkland, Cordes Lakes and Black Canyon City. The Community Pregnancy Center is a Christian, pro-life ministry that exists to assist clients with educational information and compassionate support. It is staffed by employees and volunteers who are trained in crisis intervention.
"They offer hope to women facing unplanned pregnancy by providing practical help and emotional support, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, "Earn While You Learn" classes where parents in need of help, whether emotional, education or financial, can receive free help in the form of material goods such as diapers, clothing, formulas, toys, furniture, etc., mentoring for couples and a program specifically for men, referral programs and post-abortive classes.
"At a time when a woman is feeling most lost and unsure of what course to take, the Community Pregnancy Center is there to help and support her to carry the baby to full term and provides resources to assist."
Uhl also handed out some individual awards to people who have helped the Chamber accomplish its service to the community in the past year. They included the Chamber Partner Award to the National Wild Turkey Federation for its help with the Flying High Turkey Drive; the Chamber Volunteer Award to Karen Benson; President's Choice Award to Teddy Leonard, "The Sound Guy;" Chamber Director's Award to Steve Conrad; and a plaque of appreciation to outgoing chairman Chris Kuknyo.
Past board president Sanford Cohen led the incoming PV Chamber Board members in their oaths of office during the banquet. The 2011-2012 board consists of Chairman Steve Bracety, Vice Chairman Irene Evans, Treasurer Jeff Spohn, Secretary Jeri Ann Kooiman, Past Chairman Chris Kuknyo, and board members John Amos, Steve Conrad, Josh Rice, Betty Robinson, Dr. Paul Stanton, and Matt Zurcher.