Gateway’s ‘Citizen of the Year’ revealed

See why Dr. Karen Fischer Gray of Parkrose Schools was the honoree – while representatives of outer East Portland emergency first responders were also celebrated …

Gateway Area Business Association VP Paul Wild of Mt. Hood Community College Corporate Training stands with President David Panichello from Opti-Con, Inc. and Lisa Ortquist CPA of Gulde & Ortquist, as they welcome guests to this annual event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For years now, leaders and members of the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA) have set aside their September meeting to honor emergency first responders. This year’s observance was held the evening of September 10.

“Welcome to our ‘First Responders Tribute’ and Citizen of the Year presentation, here at 111th Square,” welcomed long-time Gateway business booster Fred Sanchez of Realty Brokers.

The Gateway Keystone Kops welcome guests to the event.

Portland Police Bureau Assistant Chief Mike Crebs meets Russell Neighborhood Association Chair Ron Glanville.

“We dedicate this meeting, held on or near 9/11 every year, to honor our law enforcement, fire, and safety and medical professionals, who are dedicated to our safety,” Sanchez told East Portland News.

Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jonelle Oiszewski offers a stirring performance of the “National Anthem”, as the Honor Guard presents the colors.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4248 from inner Southeast Portland prepares to fire a “21-Gun Salute”.

Several community organizations and businesses were represented at the celebration, informing guests about their services. And, live entertainment was presented throughout, between the presentations.

Singer of big band standards, Sunny Day (a/k/a Kevin “Not your ordinary beancounter” Minkoff CPA), entertains the crowd.

Ken Richardson, David Douglas School District Assistant Superintendent, reads the accolades of the 2015 GABA Citizen of the Year, as recipient Dr. Karen Fischer Gray listens.

David Douglas School District Assistant Superintendent Ken Richardson stepped on the stage, and invited Parkrose School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Fischer Gray to come forward.

Before Richardson presented the 2015 GABA Citizen of the Year plaque to Dr. Gray, he read the text of her commendation, presented here in part:

“The Gateway Area Business Association has overwhelmingly nominated Dr. Karen Fischer Gray as Gateway’s 2015 Citizen of the Year,” Richardson began.

“Dr. Karen Fischer Gray has been serving the Portland community for some time, and has 32 years in education. Gray has been a steadfast advocate and voice for East Portland students and their families. Under her leadership, Parkrose School District helped students increase their test scores, built a LEED-certified beautiful new middle school, and adapted in order to better welcome Parkrose’s diverse families.”

Before Richardson presented the 2015 GABA Citizen of the Year to Dr. Gray, he enumerated the many additional duties Dr. Gray has taken on – from working with the Oregon Department of Education Mentoring Program, to being an adjunct professor for both Lewis and Clark College and Portland State University in Educational Leadership, and serving on the Doctoral Program Council for Lewis and Clark College.

Then, going “off script” Richardson added, “Her ‘fingerprint’ of advocating for kids is across the State. She works tirelessly to improve her community, as she does for her school district.”

Dr. Karen Fischer Gray receives her award from Ken Richardson.

After the presentation, Gray told East Portland News, “I’m really honored to be presented this wonderful award. I love the work that the Gateway Area Business Association does on behalf of businesses in our area.

“It’s such an honor to be an educator in this area and have people appreciate you,” Gray added. “It’s wonderful; it’s a lovely feeling.”

Barbara Yerke and Sylvia Thompson, representing Northeast Portland Rotary, make snow cones.

Representatives of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office receive recognition.

Being recognized, from the Portland Police Bureau, are East Precinct Lt. Craig Morgan and Captain Robert King.

Last, but certainly not least, is the crew of Portland Fire & Rescue San Rafael Station 30, accepting their own commendation.

The Gateway Area Business Association next meets on October 8, at 11:45 a.m. at the “Meals on Wheels” Loaves and Fishes Center; 740 SE 106th Avenue (in the East Portland Community Center, between SE Stark Street and Cherry Blossom Drive).

Lunch is available for an $8.00 “suggested donation”. For more information, see their all-new website: CLICK HERE.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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