A banquet room at Tenaya Lodge erupted with applause and standing ovations as Oakhurst attorney James H. Watkins and Candace Flammang, president of Friends of the Oakhurst Branch Library, were named the 2012 Man and Woman of the Year, and Oakhurst Physical Therapy, owned by Tony and Lori McLean, was named Business of The Year by the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce Jan. 11 at its annual installation dinner.
Dave Wolin was named Volunteer of the Year for his contributions to the Mountain Area.
Man of the Year: James H. Watkins
Its very flattering and Im very appreciative, said Watkins, who has been part of the Mountain Area since 1986.
Mike Sullivan presented Watkins his award after informing the audience on everything Watkins does to give back to the community.
Watkins has been on the chamber board for years and is a past president. He is past president of the Sierra Sunrise Rotary Club and the Elks Lodge and has served on many committees including the Oakhurst Oversight Committee, Integrated Regional Water Management Committee and is currently serving as the Water Advisory Committee chairman. He also support the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst, Yosemite High School scholarship program, and sponsored a child for the Loggers Jamboree in North Fork.
Hes consistently helped those less fortunately and has always given back, Sullivan said.
Woman of the Year: Candace Flammang
Woman of the Year, Flammang, came to Oakhurst in 1968 and was a first grade teacher at Wasuma Elementary School. In 2002 she joined the Friends of the Oakhurst Branch Library (FOBL) and has been an advocate for the library and its expansion ever since, serving as secretary, publicity chair and president of FOBL.
Candaces dedication to the success of the FOBL building addition fundraising has been ongoing, tireless and preserving, involving many hours and many, many trips to (Madera County) Board of Supervisors meetings, said Sherry Colgate who presented Flammang with her award.
Shes one of the most persistent women in Eastern Madera County, said Supervisor Tom Wheeler, laughing.
Colgate noted that Flammang was also instrumental in securing an ordinance to help provide a safe environment for visitors to the areas surrounding the library and the Oakhurst Community Park.
I appreciate the recognition for me and the FOBL board, Flammang said. They are exceptional people in every way and I enjoy representing them. We make decisions as a group. I feel like we are a close family.
Business of the Year: Oakhurst Physical Therapy
Oakhurst Physical Therapy, named 2012 Business of the Year, is owned by Tony and Lori McLean. Unfortunately Tony could not attend the dinner because he was taking the Boy Scouts to a scouting event in Minkler.
I was overwhelmed, Lori said. We have such a wonderful staff and this is really an honor for them.
Since the McLeans opened their business, they have been active in the community through a number of ways including the YHS athletic department, sports physical day, and annual gala concert as well as the First Tee golf program. The McLeans also have a partnership with Rotary to help provide refurbished medical equipment to those in need, according to Kenny Buller who presented Lori with the award.
Tony is also involved in Boy Scout Troop 341 and leads the troop on a variety of outdoor excursions from survival in the snowy Sierra high country to biking in Death Valley. Tony is a Rotarian and past Sierra Sunrise Rotary president and also works with local youth as part of the Dollars for Under-Developed Economic Societies (D.U.D.E.S.).
"One common theme is that this business, and the husband and wife duo behind it, empower our local youth, Buller said. They not only give the youth tools to succeed, but they purposefully guide our local youth into a culture of caring and investing in others.
Volunteer of the Year: Dave Wolin
Dave Wolin was named the 2012 Volunteer of the Year for being a strong advocate of the local economy. Supervisor Wheeler accepted the award in his place because he was unable to attend the event.
He (Wolin) diligently volunteers his time, energy and resources in any way he can to promote our region, said David Nemeth, who presented the award. He is famous for promoting tourists to just stay one more day in Eastern Madera County because it makes a difference.
Nemeth went on to say that Wolin, a veteran himself, is an advocate for local veterans and creates events to benefit them. He is very active in the Emergency Preparedness Committee, serving as its chair and co-chair for many years. He helps organize car shows, is director of the Madera County Film Commission, and is chairman of the Economic Development Committee.
Others that recognized for their years of leadership, service and support of the chamber were Sherry Colgate, Colette Goga, Dee Ann Smith, Angelo Pizelo, Kenny Buller and Janet Stanovich.
New this year was the 2012 Executive Directors Award, which chamber director Darin Soukup awarded to Flint Tompkins in appreciation for his example of service and leadership in making the Oakhurst Community Park a safe destination for the Eastern Madera County community.
Tompkins has been going to the park almost every day since the beginning of last summer in order to create a peaceful environment for families.
Because of some prior incidents involving local transients, some people were becoming weary of going to the park so Tompkins has made it his mission to help keep it safe and if he notices a problem, or someone drinking in the park, he notifies law enforcement.
Janet Stanovich, outgoing chamber president, reviewed some of the highlights of 2012 that included a steady chamber membership despite economic conditions, a year full of Oakhursts 100th birthday celebrations that was capped off with the 100 year time capsule, and the community coming together to save The Met Cinema.
Although 2012 proved to be a dynamic and challenging year, it was a rewarding year as well, Stanovich said. ...I extend my sincere appreciation to the chamber membership, the chamber executive director (Soukup) and Michaela (Edwards), and every individual who has volunteered their time to make the chamber the successful organization that it is today. I want to personally thank each board member for his and her dedication, direction, and focus you provided this past year.
Following Stanovichs speech and all the recognitions, Wheeler conducted the swearing in ceremony for the chambers new 2013 board of directors that includes:
Greg Chappel, president (Jamison & Chappel)
Todd Miller, president-elect (Miller & White, CPAs)
Dan Rule, secretary (Sierra Tel)
Mike Sullivan, treasurer (Sullivans Tire Pros)
Janet Stanovich, past president (Certified Emergency Manager) Directors:
Chris Baker (Digital Mirrors)
Don Eaves (Yosemite Bank, Oakhurst)
Rick Hlava (Valley Regional Insurance Services)
David Nemeth (Nemeth & Petrushkin)
Andrew Pence (W.J. Bradley)
Randy Papike (R. Papike Construction)
Ted Roache (Sierra Sky Ranch)
Stephanie Simonian (47th Place Carpet One)
In Chappels Incoming 2013 Chamber Presidents Message, he offered several different ways the chamber can advocate and promote Oakhurst area businesses and their interests.
Some of those ways included promoting our community as an exciting destination for visitors, a wholesome place to live and a friendly location to establish business enterprises.
The chamber can also achieve its purpose by identifying and actively assisting in the development of that infrastructure which would improve the livability of our community, enhance business activity and help attract new commercial enterprises to the area, Chappel said.
Chappel said the chamber can also serve its members by providing advertising and promotional opportunities, effective communication with its membership, and by providing opportunities to meet and network with other members of the community. It can also respond to inquiries for information on county, state and federal laws and regulations or direct members to those who can assist and provide referrals for our members.
Chappel said this year the chamber will endeavor to establish or enhance a couple events necessary to provide sufficient funding and a three year plan so the chamber can provide a proper level of service to its members and the community.
We will be calling on you to help with these goals in order to bring about a better and more effective chamber of commerce, Chappel said.