‘Citizen of the Year’ named, public safety ‘first responders’ honored, by Gateway businesspeople

Find out who won this prestigious award, and also find out which Bureaus – and why – have become part of this annual event …

The 2010 First Responders Recognition and Citizen of the Year event gets underway at 111th Square, in Gateway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Rain threatened throughout the afternoon, but cloudy outer East Portland skies cleared, on the evening of September 9, as the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) announced their 10th annual “Citizen of the Year” – and honored public safety providers – at a special outdoor gathering at 111th Square.

The event started off with a Flag Ceremony, a 21-gun salute, and Portland Christian High School senior Kelsey Hutchin’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”.

(Also from our cover page) Members of the Portland VFW 4248 Honor Guard, after they performed their 21-gun salute, honoring those who fell on September 11, 2001.

The “Citizen of the Year Award” honors a chosen individual’s contributions to the Gateway community – advancing its commercial, economic, financial, industrial, safety, and civic interests.

On GABA’s selection committee this year was Parkrose School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Gray, David Douglas School District Superintendent Don Grotting, and Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Police Commander William Walker.

“For the first time in its history, the committee chose an organization to receive this honor: the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association,” pointed GABA board member, and event host, Fred Sanchez.

Fred Sanchez of Realty Brokers and host of the annual event at 111th Square, welcomes all to the gathering.

Hazelwood Neighborhood Association Board Member Linda Robinson and President Arlene Kimura receive the 2010 Citizen of the Year Award from GABA’s Fred Sanchez.

“The Hazelwood Neighborhood Association has been supportive and continues to show a genuine commitment to community accomplishments and business success,” remarked GABA President, Ajnesh “AJ” Prasad of Columbia Bank.

“Besides their active participation at GABA meetings and functions – such as Fun-O-Rama, Mother’s Day Bike Ride, First Responders’ Appreciation Meeting, and Concerts in Ventura Park – the HNA Board has financially supported GABA’s ‘David Douglas CD Project’ and supporting our grant applications,” Prasad added.”

‘First Responders’ honored

Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who oversees Portland Fire & Rescue, presents a commemorative plaque to the crew from Station 30 – Lt. Phil Loving; firefighters Sean Whalen, Mike Stadler, and Matt Slosser; and Battalion Chief Chris Babcock. The plaque reads, “Gateway Area Business Association honors Portland Fire District Station 30 for unwavering service as First Responders to our community.”

At the same gathering, GABA held their 4th annual “9/11 Memorial Remembrance” to thank Portland’s public safety first responders, including the Portland Fire & Rescue, the Portland Police Bureau, and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard was first up, thanking the firefighters for their continued service, and commending neighbors who lobbied City Hall to make sure their firehouse, Station 30, was retrofitted so it could stay open and in service.

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz presents a commemorative plaque to Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander William Walker; Officers Mike Gallagher, Jen Hertzler, and Randi Miller; Sergeant David Golliday; and Lt. John Brooks. “Gateway Area Business Association honors East Portland Police Precinct for unwavering service as First Responders to our community.”

Speaking next was Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz who said, “I appreciate being invited to this commemorative event to remember the events of September 11, 2001, and celebrate how we picked ourselves up since that tragic attack.”

As the Commissioner in charge of the 9-1-1 Bureau, Fritz addressed the officers from East Precinct, saying, “Our staff at 9-1-1 dispatch you, and you go and then serve the public. I particularly enjoyed working with Commissioner Leonard over the last year and a half, looking especially at those times when we just need to get the job done. We also get the job done with the sheriff, and the county, and with our neighborhood partners and our business partners. We’ve had some pretty tough times last year and a half, yet we in our community, we’ve stepped up and done what needs to be done.”

With that, Fritz proclaimed, “It’s now my honor to present the Portland Police Bureau East Precinct with this award for unwavering service, as first responders to our community.”

Presenting a commemorative plaque is Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack; she’s giving it to Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton, and MCSO Training Unit Manager Lt. Harry Smith.

Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack next commended the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and presented a commemorative plaque to Sheriff Dan Staton.

“The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office provides so many vital public services in our community,” Shiprack proclaimed. “They patrol unincorporated areas of the County, operate our River Patrol, and operate our Warrant Strike Force. And, Lt. Bobbi Luna, in charge of our jails, has been nationally honored by being named as President of the American Jail Association.”

On behalf of his agency, said Lt. Smith later said, “The plaque you presented is on display in our Roll Call room. As a first responder, and as a 9/11 family member, I thank you for keeping the memories of 9/11 alive in the community. We should never forget the lessons of that day.”

With just a little help from GABA Keystone Kop Alan Sanchez, Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz wins her arm-wrestling contest with him.

Meet the GABA members
The next meeting of the Gateway Area Business Association will be on October 14, at Parkview Christian Retirement Homes, 1825 NE 108th Avenue (just north of NE Weidler Street, in their Community Room, just west from where NE Schuler dead-ends into 108th Avenue). For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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