Harry Baker, president of Sierra Tel personally honored 52 of his employees at Tenaya Lodge Dec. 10 during the company's annual service awards banquet attended by 450.
The awards ceremony followed hors d'oeuvres of assorted cheeses, chilled jumbo shrimp and blue point oysters and dinner consisting of Jack Daniel crab and corn chowder topped with puff pastry, sweet potatoes au gratin, asparagus and grilled bison rib eye and assorted desserts.
Special honors went to 30 year employees Mary Aller and JC McNally and 35 year employees Jim Hopman and Alan Cable.
Aller joined the company on Feb. 4, 1981 as an operator working the 2:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. shift after moving to Oakhurst from Southern California. She transferred to the accounting department in 1995.
She said one of the most wonderful experiences of her life happened at Sierra Telephone when she met her husband, Matthew Haynes in the mail room.
"I consider myself to be blessed to work for such a caring, community-oriented company and some of the nicest people that I have ever met,"said Aller.
McNally started work for the company in the installation and repair department on Feb. 2, 1981, when there were still many 10 party lines in the Mountain Area. In 1989, he moved to the engineering department.
In 1995 McNally was promoted to outside plant manager.
"A lot of changes have taken place at Sierra Telephone in the past 30 years," McNally said. "It's been an amazing experience how technology has progressed over the years. The one thing that has remained constant is the great people people here at Sierra Telephone and being able to work for someone like Harry."
Jim Hopman started his career at the company in May 1974 and worked three years in the installation and repair department. After a short time in Pilot Rock, Oregon and Ponderosa Telephone, Hopman returned to Sierra Telephone to work in the splicing department and then joined installation and repair in 1991 and engineering in 2002.
"It's been my privilege to work for Mr. Baker and sierra Telephone for the past 30 years," said Hopman.
Cable joined the construction department in 1976 and transferred to installation and repair in 1978.
In 1984, Cable was part of the new Big Sky Enterprises, the beginning of what soon became Sierra Tel Tronics and is known today as Sierra Tel Business Systems.
In 1999, Cable transferred into the central office and is the current remote supervisor.
"I am so lucky to have this great job and and I am very appreciative of the five great technicians that work for me and make my job so wonderful, Cable said. "I feel very fortunate to be a part of Sierra Telephone and it's been a fun ride over the last 35 years."
Service awards were also presented to:
Five years: Ryan Alibrando, Bryan Blott, Janet Burkett, Carl Duerksen, Kathy
Goforth, Hannah Jones, Colin Krause, Joe Larsen, Angela Lawson, April Linan, Matt Meyer, Billy Petrushkin and Denise Volpetti.
10 years: Venus Bates, Lee Bedell, Chris Bolton, Doris Brekhus, Ryan Bryant, Susan Bull, Deborah Davis, Karen Hulbert, Shane Mohler, Lawrence Moore, Jack Morris, Laura Norman, Patrick Richardson, Rima Runtzel and Jodi Ward.
15 years: Roger Brillhart, Michael Carey, Joe Ewing, Mike Harian, Sandra McNally, Sydney Mead, David, Miller, Susan Montgomery, Rod Mosteiro, Terry Muller, Lisa Rhoan, Eric Thome, Tom Vasquez, Bodie Wass and Jerry Weddle.
20 years: Cindy Donnell, Matthew Faulkner, Sherri Leasum, Anne Miller and Daniel Rule.
Gifts were presented to each service award employee including inflatable rafts, binoculars, digital cameras, mantal clocks and exercise equipment and more than 30 employees received processed raffled pork and beef from FFA and 4-H animals bought at auction by the company.
Dancing followed the awards ceremony with music provided by DJ Jeff Bergen.