Boardman awards

Rick and Shari Weiss accept their 2020 Citizens of the Year award during a surprise visit from the Boardman Chamber of Commerce.

The Boardman Chamber of Commerce recently recognized some of the community’s best and brightest in its 31st annual Distinguished Citizens Awards, which was held virtually this year.

The chamber’s 2020 Citizens of the Year were First Baptist Church of Boardman Pastor Rick Weiss and his wife Shara Weiss. In a video about their award, residents who nominated them spoke of their constant will to serve the community and their work in getting Boardman’s new food pantry off the ground.

“There were just all of these things that they did where they were serving constantly ... and as soon as the pandemic hit it became even more obvious that they were really interested not in just simply sitting around and talking about things to help out with people, or talking about things to help out around the town, but they were interested in getting out and doing stuff,” Emmitt Skeen said.

They were surprised with the award at the food pantry, and said they felt honored.

“We love this community and we’re very pleased to do whatever we can do to keep this community growing and thriving and make sure needs are being met,” Rick Weiss said.

The Pioneer Award was awarded posthumously to Art Kegler, who died on Sept. 4, 2020. Kegler was a past mayor of Boardman and was still serving as a city councilor when he died. He was the founder and owner of American West Properties, was an announcer and sponsor for youth sports, was an active advocate for the real estate business on a state level and served on a variety of committees and boards.

His son, Dean Kegler, spoke of his father’s legacy, calling him a pioneer and an instrumental member of Boardman before COVID-19 took him.

The Business Person of the Year award was also given posthumously, to Marty Myers, who served as general manager of Threemile Canyon Farms before dying in December 2020 at age 68. Debbie Radie, who nominated Myers for the award, called him a well-known innovator and leader in the agricultural community.

“In a small community like this, the impact of a company and a leader that recognizes that children and families and our environment are important as we make decisions for our businesses, it helps all of us in our community, and I think our community is better off for the things Marty brought to the table here,” Radie said.

Business of the Year went to The Farmer’s Cup coffee shop. Katie Burton, who nominated the shop, said employees there are always friendly and kind, and take the time to talk to her when she comes in.

“It’s easy to see they want to make Boardman a great place to live,” she said.

The First Responder of the Year award went to the entire Boardman Fire Rescue District. Marcie Rodelo, who nominated the department, said they have a “great, great team” there that is always there for the community, whether it’s an emergency or fundraiser.

“Speaking on behalf of all of us, I think we’re humbled and honored by this presentation,” Chief Michael Hughes said, adding that the district’s number one goal is always to support the community.

Educator of the Year went to Riverside Jr./Sr. High School teacher Madison Hynes. In a tribute video, students talked about how Hynes helped them with anything they needed, and never complained about early mornings and late nights to make it happen.

“She is always willing to help you, always willing to go the extra mile to make sure you get stuff done on time, and she is willing to work with you,” Hailee Pratt said. “She’s the most amazing person I ever met.”

Pratt was the winner of Youth Citizen of the Year, and was nominated in turn by Hynes. Hynes said Pratt is an incredibly dedicated and selfless student, reliable and hard working.

“In my three years teaching at Riverside, she has been a bright spot in everything I’ve done,” she said.

The award came with a $1,000 scholarship.

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