Volunteers and businesses that give their time to their community were honored Saturday at the 67th annual Distinguished Service Awards banquet at the Boys & Girls Club of Albany.
About 375 people attended.
The Distinguished Service Award went to the late Bill O’Bryan, who worked at National Frozen Foods prior to his death on Feb. 27. He was the only nominee.
Jim Denham, the public affairs coordinator for ATI Wah Chang and last year’s winner, read excerpts from letters people wrote about O’Bryan’s contributions to the community.
Here are the winners and a partial list of their contributions as listed on their nomination forms.
Jim Linhart First Citizen
Jessica Pankratz, Town & County Realty: She is described as truly a woman with a heart of gold. Jessica’s commitment to the community, her passion to become involved, and her energy to always “step up” when needed is an inspiration. Jessica is a strong leader and is involved with the Greater Albany Rotary Club, SafeHaven Humane Society, the Albany Downtown Association, and the Linn County Sherriff’s Office. She is a wonderful asset to this community from both a business and community standpoint.
Junior First Citizen
Katie Stephenson: She brings fresh, new ideas to groups in which she is involved and helps make any project a success. She is a co-founder of “Women in Networking” and is an active Albany Area Chamber Board member. Her community involvement includes the Greater Albany Rotary Club, Willamette Neighborhood Housing, Professional Women’s Association, Albany Business Alliance, Home Builders Association, the Red Cross, March of Dimes, and SafeHaven Humane Society. She is a leader and a finisher; she takes on a task and completes it with dedication and professionalism.
Distinguished Student Award
Nicole Kachel of West Albany High School: She has been an exemplary student at West Albany High School. She has an unbelievable work ethic, is passionate about the Albany community and possesses the ability to see a project through until the end. She is involved with numerous school activities, has served as a student body officer, helped plan dances, was a soccer team captain, and has organized multiple food and blood drives. She has raked leaves for the elderly and plunged into icy waters in the winter to support the Special Olympics. She also is involved in Girl Scouts and Albany Search and Rescue. She has the drive, intuition, desire, and willingness to be a participant and leader.
Large Business of the Year
MartInvest Inc. doing business as Security Alarm, Albany Lock & Key, Paragon Communications, Paragon Monitoring Center and Valley Fire Control. MartInvest is deeply involved in the community and has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to many causes over the years. In the past five years, employees have raised more than $10,000 for health and human service needs through the United Way. It is a big supporter of the YMCA and commits staff time by being on the board of directors, supports the annual scholarship fund, and the Building Albany Together capital campaign. Its list of community service is long, including having helped volunteer firefighters, United Way of Linn County, the Albany Regional Museum, Christmas Compassion Food Distribution, Kiwanis, St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen, Community After School, Albany Little Theatre, Albany Chamber Ambassadors, Mayor’s Fire Task Force, and Albany SafeHaven Humane Society. While employees don’t often toot their own horns, MartInvest’s contributions run deep and wide and have helped many people and organizations through years of service.
Small Business of the Year
Mike’s Heating and Air Conditioning owner Mike Sykes and wife, Josie, along with their employees are involved in many community organizations, including SafeHaven Humane Society, YMCA, the Boys & Girls Club of Albany, schools, Refrigeration Service Engineers Society, Oregon Homebuilders Association, and he served as an Albany volunteer firefighter. Mike’s Heating and Air has donated heating systems to Albany schools and donated sweatshirts to students when the Jefferson Elementary School heating system was being repaired. Mike has been instrumental in the capital campaign for SafeHaven. The visibility of Mike’s Heating and Air in the community and its donations have made an impact on the community.