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Hats off to Keizer’s best

This year the Keizer Chamber of Commerce changed the way the winners of its annual First Citizen Awards are chosen. The result was a list of well-deserved honors across the spectrum of Keizer volunteers.

Five men were honored at the annual awards banquet held last Saturday night. Each of the winners was swept to the stage with sustained standing ovations.

Keizer’s 2013 First Citizen Award was presented to John Doneth.  For the businesss community, Rotary club members and Keizer Chamber members, Doneth is well-known and well-liked.  The rest of the community can rest assured that Doneth was an excellent choice.

A long-time Keizer resident and business owner (he was a LPL Financial representative until he retired and turned the business over to his son, Jason, in 2010), Doneth has had a hand in just about every successful organization in the community.

He has been president of both Keizer Rotary and Keizer Chamber of Commerce; he has also been deeply involved with Keizer Little League, serving in many positions including umpire and president. Doneth has always been a leader, chairing or heading up organizations, clubs and committees.

John Doneth is a man who never says “no” when his community asks for help. He has been generous with his expertise, time and money.

His acceptance speech on Saturday night was gracious, and true to form, the first thing he did was give a testimonial to the presenters, Hank and Sandy Tarter.

John Doneth may not be as flashy and in front as some people in the public eye, but he is effective in everything he gets involved in and that makes Keizer very lucky.

There were four others awards presented last weekend. Robert Miller, formerly of Hertz Equipment Rental was honored as Merchant of the Year. Miller, a past Chamber president, has never been stingy with his time or equipment. He has been instrumental with holiday decoration along River Road and many events including the Iris Festival.

Ron Hittner was presented with the Service to Education Award. Hittner, a business owner, has been involved with youth basketball for years in Keizer, coaching youth and girl teams and different age levels.  Hittner has been a positive influence on thousands of Keizer young athletes, especially with his philosphy about sports:  “It can be hard work.  It can be fun. It should be both.”

For the first time ever two President’s Awards were handed out. Mark Caillier was presented the first award by Chamber President Derik Milton for his volunteerism with the city, parks and with organizations such as Keizer Community Library and the Keizer Art Association. Caillier served one term on the Keizer City Council but all of Keizer is still benefiting from his experience and knowledge.

The evening’s second President’s Award winner was surprised when his mother took to the podium—Eileen Taylor presented the award to her son, Jim Taylor, the choir director who has turned McNary High School’s choral program into one of the best in the state, if not the country.

Five winners were announced Saturday night—five men who make Keizer a better place to live, work, educate and play. The exact right choices were made.