Leadership Hermiston’s 15th class ended its year Tuesday with special honors, donations and recognitions.

Each year, Leadership Hermiston accepts 17-20 people into a 10-month program designed to teach participants about the greater Hermiston area through topics including business, government, agriculture, health, education and justice. The group meets for a full-day session once a month, and each June, the class graduates the program.

For 11 years, Brenda Turner has served at the helm of Leadership Hermiston, but last month, the longtime facilitator announced she would step down from the position this year in order to travel and spend more time with family.

“Brenda is one of those people we just can’t thank enough for being part of this program,” Debbie Pedro, Hermiston chamber director, said.

The Hermiston Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Hermiston Class 15 and the Leadership Hermiston Steering Committee each honored Turner for her years with the program, pointing out she has helped guide more than 200 people through the experience.

“I’ve gotten so much more from this program than I’ve ever given,” Turner said. “It’s been wonderful, but the best is yet to come for you guys. You’re going to have more and better.”

In addition to thanking Turner, the Leadership Hermiston Steering Committee also had another announcement: the committee’s Leadership Hermiston partial tuition scholarship will now be named in honor of Dennis Turner, Brenda Turner’s husband, a program alum and area dentist who died of cancer last year.

“He was part of this program, he went through it, and he would have loved this,” Brenda Turner said after the announcement.

Fran Rice was introduced during the dinner as the next facilitator.

Leadership Hermiston is accepting applications for class 16. The program begins in September, and applications are available from the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.

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