Battle Ground community celebrates community leadership at annual awards event

BATTLE GROUND — Battle Ground community members gathered for a sold-out Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce 2016 Recognition Banquet at the Battle Ground Community Center on Thursday night in order to recognize those community members who received Community Leadership Awards.

Citizens, members of the business community, educators, youth and more attended the annual event on Feb. 9 and enjoyed a catered meal by Summerland Catering Services. The recognition presentation was given by Doug Quinn of Clark Public Utilities. Quinn invited each of the nominees from each of seven categories to join him at the front of the room as a listed each of their accomplishments and reasons why they were nominated.

The winners were then named in each category and were presented with special plaques, presented by Gayle Smith, the 2017 chairman of the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

The winners of each category included:

Citizen of the Year — Bev Jones

Longtime Battle Ground community member Bev Jones was named the 2016 Citizen of the Year. According to Jones’ bio submitted to the chamber, her personal mission is “no child or senior citizen is hungry.” Jones stated that she works towards this vision through her service to the Battle Ground Lions Club projects and the North County Community Food Bank.

Some of the ways Jones has been involved in the Battle Ground community include being a member of the Battle Ground Lions Club for 17 years, a North County Community Food Bank volunteer for many years, creating baskets for fundraising auctions for the Country Shindig Veterans Memorial fundraiser and for Meals on Wheels, and more.

Jones has worked as a registered nurse for several years and currently works for Providence Health System in Portland.

“I’m overwhelmed and amazed and grateful to be a part of this community,” Jones said as she accepted her award. “I grew up in a very small community, Beaver, OR, and it was really I learned citizenship from my parents. They were the rock of the community. They were the volunteer firemen, the social worker, the nurse … everything. I learned it from them. Being here, I think someone said it earlier, is like being home.”

The Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce presented several awards during the annual 2016 Recognition Banquet on Feb. 9
The 2016 Citizen of the Year finalists included Joy Russell, Bev Jones and Josh McArthur. Bev Jones received the honor of being named Citizen of the Year. Photo by Joanna Yorke

Business of the Year — The Reflector

The winner of the 2016 Business of the Year award was The Reflector Newspaper. The Reflector has been publishing since 1909, but this is the first time they have ever been nominated for this award.

According to the bio information submitted to the chamber, The Reflector has been a member of the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce for many years and has attended events regularly, and have strived to do more during the last few years, volunteering at events and fundraisers, having photographers and reporters at events and more.

The Reflector also supports the community and businesses by sharing information, stories and news. According to the bio, they focus on the local economy, projects and services to make Battle Ground a destination location that can help to promote business growth.

“Every person in here is so valuable to this community,” said Laura Venneri, general manager of The Reflector, as she accepted the award. “And I love that we can share your story and your struggles and your accomplishments. This is an amazing community.”

The Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce presented several awards during the annual 2016 Recognition Banquet on Feb. 9
Community members representing all the nominees for 2016 Business of the Year are pictured here. The nominees were Emanar Cellars, iQ Credit Union, South Pacific Cafe & Lounge and The Reflector Newspaper. This year’s winner was The Reflector. Photo by Joanna Yorke

Business Person of the Year — Dustin & Chelsea Colthorp of iCare Repair

Dustin and Chelsea Colthorp, owners and operators of iCare Repair, an electronics repair shop located at 1808 SW 9th Ave., Suite 102 in Battle Ground, received the award for 2016 Business Person of the Year.

In their bio information submitted to the chamber, Dustin and Chelsea outlined their business ethics, their volunteering and community involvement, projects they’ve participated in that have benefited other businesses, and their business’ recent expansion, remodeling and construction.

Both Dustin and Chelsea are involved in the Battle Ground Rotary Club and have helped with the Restorative Justice Program, volunteering at the Clark County Food Bank Repack on several occasions. They have both also enjoyed working with youth in the community, working with the Rocksolid Community Teen Center, participating in the Lunch Buddies program at Captain Strong Primary School and more.

“Thank you all, we’re very humbled,” Dustin said as he and Chelsea accepted the award. “It feels so good to be part of such a loving community. I can’t believe it. So many people give back to this community. My heart is full today.”

The Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce presented several awards during the annual 2016 Recognition Banquet on Feb. 9
The nominees for the 2016 Business Person of the Year included Derek Huegel from Wolf Industries, Tony Domine from Detroit Pizza, and Dustin and Chelsea Colthorp from iCare Repair. Dustin and Chelsea Colthorp received the award. Photo by Joanna Yorke

Service Person of the Year — Steve Wrightson

Steve Wrightson, who is the fire chief for Clark County Fire District 3, was presented with the 2016 Service Person of the Year award. Wrightson has been the fire chief for 28 years.

According to Wrightson’s bio information submitted to the chamber, he started his fire service career in 1975 as a wildland firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management in Ely, Nev. He also served as a wildland firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service; as a firefighter, engineer and captain for the El Centro Fire Department in California; as deputy fire marshal for the Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office; and as battalion chief for Clark County Fire District 4 and 5. He was selected as fire chief for District 3 in 1989.

Wrightson also served on the Board of Directors for Educational Service District 112 and serves as secretary/treasurer for the Clark County Fire Chiefs Association, along with serving on a few other boards.

“It’s a great honor and I appreciate it very much,” Wrightson told guests at the banquet as he accepted the award. “It’s also very humbling because every day I get to work with some really great people in the fire service and law enforcement. There’s so many people who could certainly be standing here tonight. There’s so many people that work very hard to make this community what it is.”

The Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce presented several awards during the annual 2016 Recognition Banquet on Feb. 9
Two community members were nominated for the 2016 Service Person of the Year award, Fire Chief Steve Wrightson and Detective Rick Kelly (not pictured). Fire Chief Steve Wrightson received the award. Photo by Joanna Yorke

Teacher of the Year — Greg McKelvey (Battle Ground High School)

Greg McKelvey, director of bands at Battle Ground High School, was presented with the 2016 Teacher of the Year award. He has taught music in the public schools for more than 35 years.

According to McKelvey’s bio submitted to the chamber, since becoming the director of bands at Battle Ground High School, his bands have won numerous awards, including first, second and third in their divisions in the Portland Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade the last 18 years. The Battle Ground Advanced Jazz Band has won sweepstakes six times at the Clackamas Community College Jazz Festival, first place twice at the Lionel Hampton Festival in Idaho; first place at the Portland Rose Festival Band Classic; sweepstakes at the Clark College Jazz Festival and more.

In 2006, the Battle Ground Advanced Jazz Band placed in the Essentially Ellington competition in New York, and in 2009 they placed third at the Swing Central Jazz Festival in Savannah, Ga. McKelvey stated that he strives to “instill in all of my students a love and appreciation of music that will last a lifetime.”

“I didn’t think I’d get this,” McKelvey said as he accepted the award. “There are a lot of great teachers in Battle Ground … Last but certainly not least, I’d like to say a thank you, even though they’re not here, to all my students who actually do what I ask them to do, most of the time.”

 The Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce presented several awards during the annual 2016 Recognition Banquet on Feb. 9
The 2016 Teacher of the Year finalists included Julie Drimmel, Stephanie Etulain, Chad Harvison and Greg McKelvey. The honor of being named Teacher of the Year went to Greg McKelvey. Photo by Joanna Yorke

Coach of the Year — Dan Russell (Battle Ground High School)

Battle Ground wrestling coach Dan Russell was presented with the award for 2016 Coach of the Year. After moving to Battle Ground in 2008, Russell quickly became a part of the Tiger wrestling program at Battle Ground High School.

According to Russell’s bio that was submitted to the chamber, Russell states that the influence of coach marks an athlete for life. He says that life is a struggle, and the sport of wrestling helped prepare him for the wrestling match of life.

In addition to coaching the Tigers, Russell also coaches with the North County Bobcats, stating that since the school district does not have middle school sports he wanted to help provide more opportunities for middle school, elementary and preschool children to be able to participate in the sport that taught him so much.

“First, the two other coaches … I have four kids and my four kids have all spoken so highly of them,” Russell said as he accepted the award. “I just want to say it’s an honor to even be a part of this with you. I also this community, wow. There’s no way to describe what it is to be a part of Battle Ground. Just people that are hard working, that are giving, that are generous, that are willing to roll up their sleeves. That’s all of you.”

The Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce presented several awards during the annual 2016 Recognition Banquet on Feb. 9
Three coaches were nominated for the 2016 Coach of the Year award, including Jonas Fridriksson, Sheryl Piper and Dan Russell. Dan Russell was the recipient of the award. Photo by Joanna Yorke

Outstanding Youth of the Year — Hana Wyles

The 2016 Outstanding Youth of the Year award was presented to Hana Wyles. Wyles is a senior at Battle Ground High School.

According to Wyles’ bio that was submitted to the chamber, she has been a part of the ASB at Battle Ground High School throughout her four years there, currently serving as the executive president. During her time with ASB, Wyles has helped to plan many dances, assemblies and other events that benefit the student body.

Along with ASB, Wyles is also involved with the Interact Club, which is similar to Rotary but on the high school level. Through Interact she has volunteered at Pomeroy Living History Farm, for the local Walk and Knock, and more. Along with being involved with several clubs, Wyles is also involved in sports, playing varsity volleyball and golf at Battle Ground High School for the last four years. During the first two years of her high school volleyball experience, she volunteered as a Community Education Volleyball coach.

“Battle Ground is such an amazing town and I am so glad that I was able to grow up here, and I hope for nothing but the best for the rest of the town,” Wyles said as she accepted her award.

The Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce presented several awards during the annual 2016 Recognition Banquet on Feb. 9
Two youth from the Battle Ground community, Samantha Hipp and Hana Wyles, were nominated for the 2016 Outstanding Youth of the Year award. Hana Wyles received the award. Photo by Joanna Yorke
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About The Author

Joanna Nicole Yorke is a 2010 graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in political science. Yorke is a Clark County native, growing up on her family's 12-acre farm in La Center where her family still resides today. She was previously a reporter at The Reflector Newspaper, covering the city of Battle Ground, the Battle Ground School District and a variety of other areas and topics.

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