Archie Macaulay, a lifetime educator and 24-year resident of the Mountain Area, received the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce's highest and most prestigious honor last Friday night The Lifetime Achievement Award for his many years of dedicated volunteer work for the betterment of the community.
Macaulay went to the event after being told his daughter-in-law, Susan Macaulay, was going to receive an award.
"When my son stated the person being honored was born in Canada , I was not surprised because my Susan was also born in Canada," said Archie. "But when he mentioned the birth date (1928), that's when it hit me I couldn't believe it."
Archie said the first time he and his wife visited Oakhurst some 20 years ago, by the end of the weekend they had decided they wanted to live here.
Born Feb. 7, 1928, in Vancouver where he worked as a street car conductor as a young man, Macaulay eventually went to Pepperdine University, graduating in 1950. In 1960, Macaulay and his wife moved to Thousand Oaks where he taught every grade from Kindergarten through eighth grade.
It was during this time, having a passion for politics, that he became president of the district teacher's association as well as the California Teachers Association, where he served on the state board of directors.
In 1972, his wife passed away and in 1974, he married Carol and they remain married today.
They moved to Oakhurst in 1980 from Pismo Beach. He worked on behalf of teachers state-wide as a negotiator for the California Teacher's Association before retiring in 1992.
Macaulay is a past president of the Oakhurst Community Center board of directors, and a former member of the Sierra Senior Center board and the Education Enhancement Foundation.
He will long be remembered for his tireless efforts, along with Angelo Pizelo and Harry Baker, in establishing the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst nearly 15 years ago. He had been to Scotland for an international Rotary conference and clearly remembers the international Rotary leader telling everyone to return home and do something positive for their communities.
"I started thinking about that and I called a meeting of all the service clubs presidents and we came up with the idea of a boys and girls club for the community," Macaulay said. "I took it from there and decided that is what we needed to do ... the club is a great place for children to go after school, instead of to an empty house."
He said the community has been very good to him and his wife and he was happy to do everything he could over the years for the the community.
"We love this community," he said.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is designed to recognize persons who have participated in the community for no less than 20 years and have provided extraordinary service to the community and the chamber.
Man and Woman of the Year
Dale Miller and Sue Graham were honored as the chamber's Man and Woman of the Year and Dorsey's Hallmark as the Business of the Year for 2013.
Jim Watkins, 1998 chamber president and last year's Man of the Year, had the honor of introducing his long-time friend Miller to the crowd of nearly 140, and Karen White had the honor of introducing Graham.
Dave and Linda Dorsey, owners of Dorsey's Hallmark, were introduced by Doug Dearing, former branch manager of Yosemite Bank (a division of Premier Valley Bank) and 1996 chamber president.
The chamber's Executive Director Darin Soukup, introduced Sherry Colgate as the recipient of the Executive Director's Award.
Miller has been active in the community since moving to Ahwahnee in 1992 from Simi Valley. He is the current president of the Oakhurst Community Center board of directors, is a member of the Elk's Lodge and is past president of the Sunrise Rotary Club. It was Miller's idea for the inaugural Elk's Safety Awards held Oct. 26 that honored six Mountain Area first responders. Miller received such an award in 1967 when he served as Captain of the Ventura County Fire Department.
As a candidate in the 2013 Oakhurst Honorary Mayor campaign, Miller raised $24,000 for the community center.
"Being picked as the Man of the Year was a total shock to me and very humbling," Miller said after the dinner. "Once the Sierra Star story went viral on Facebook, the phone rang off the hook and emails abounded."
"When it was time to announce the Man of the Year, Jim Watkins made the presentation and I fully expected him to roast me," Miller said. "It turned out to be more flattering than roasting, thank God. The walk up to the podium was nerve-racking to say the least as the whole room gave me a standing ovation as they did the other award recipients after me. I'm still on cloud nine and boy what a wonderful experience that will last a lifetime."
Graham, owns and operates Oakhurst Gifts on Crane Valley Road (426), and has been a member of the chamber ambassadors for many years, attending ribbon cuttings and giving support to new business owners. She is the current president of Soroptimist International of the Sierras.
Born and raised in Fresno, Graham holds a bachelor degree in anthropology from the University of California, Fresno, and a K-12 teaching credential. In the 70s, she moved to Oakhurst and met her husband, Randy. The couple have two children, Annie and Casey.
In her introduction, White credited Graham with owning one of the most successful retail businesses in Oakhurst, the Oakhurst Giftworks. She has been a long time supporter of many area non-profit organizations and education.
"She shows an unfailing support for the community, including decorating her storefront for each special occasion, displaying signs supporting other community activities and is a passionate advocate for shopping locally," White said.
Dearing said Dave and Linda Dorsey, who recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, opened the Hallmark store in April, 1991, in the Raley's Shopping Center, and within a year became an elite Hallmark Gold Crown store after meeting stringent Hallmark standards.
In November, 1994, Dorsey's moved their store to the Old Mill Village shopping center, adjacent to Vons.
In 1996 the store, which has employed about 50 people over the past 23 years, received a 'retail excellence' award from Hallmark.
Daughter Christine starting working in the store the day they opened at the age of 12 1/2. Daughter Kim and son Mike worked the store while they attended Yosemite High School. Christine and Kim both are currently store managers and are also key buyers for the store.
"Linda, Dave and their staff are noted for their excellent customer service and going out of their ways to take care of their customers and making contributions to the betterment of the Mountain Area," Dearing said.
Dearing noted a number of examples of the Dorsey's community support, including raising more then $2,000 to help Yosemite High graduate and Marine Chance Gaal obtain special equipment for his vehicle to allow him to drive after losing both legs in the Afghan war.
"The Dorsey's donated $1,000 to the Coarsegold Historical Museum, more than $800 to Little Church on the Hill for windows by selling custom t-shirts and hats in the store, raised more than $750 for the Fresno Flats Library by selling t-shirts and hats, and donated $500 to the Angel Amongst Us awards program," Dearing said.
Dearing added the Dorseys routinely support many other charities, sports programs, and schools in the Mountain Area.
Dave Dorsey said he and his wife have been blessed to be a part of the community for 23 years.
"If it wasn't for this wonderful community supporting us, we wouldn't be the business we are today," Dave Dorsey said. " This has been a wonderful place to raise our family and this award means so much to us."
Colgate is a past chamber board member and was named the chamber's Woman of the Year in 1993. She retired from Sierra Tel in June 2011 as customer service and corporate communications manager after a 34 1/2 year career.
Speaking directly to Colgate, Soukup said, "This award is not from the chamber membership, and not from the chamber board, but is from me personally to thank you for all you have done for the chamber and me personally this past year."
Soukup called Colgate one of the most creative and passionate volunteers he has ever had the pleasure to work with.
"I would be hard pressed to find someone to hire with the professionalism and expertise she brings to the chamber as a volunteer," Soukup said.
Soukup said Colgate has brought extensive contributions to chamber membership meetings and chamber events, such as the Oakhurst Fall Festival and the German Fest.
Colgate and her husband, Ron, moved to Oakhurst 38 years ago. Ron was named the chamber's Volunteer of the Year in 1996.
Over the years, Colgate has volunteered many hours to the community, including assisting with Mountaineer Days (predecessor to Heritage Days), Career Days at Yosemite High School, Relay for Life, Showcase of Schools, and has been a long-time member of Soroptimist International of the Sierras and the Oakhurst Community Park Committee. She has served as chairperson of the chamber's Education Committee and is a past board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst. She was a key member on the chamber's 100-year anniversary of Oakhurst committee.
Outgoing president, attorney Greg Chappel, said the chamber's finances are secure and becoming better every day.
"This will now allow the chamber to provide even more and better services on behalf of our members," Chappel said. "We also initiated a Merchant's committee in order to address the needs of our merchant members."
In the 55-year history of the chamber, Chappel is the only president to serve two terms (1999 and 2013).
Chappel praised the work and dedication of Soukup.
"Darin is a true godsend to this organization and the community," Chappel said. "Hard work, dedication and sacrifice are his middle names. He is scary-smart, creative, determined and resourceful, and continuously provides excellent leadership and quality advice to the board of directors. His performance as executive director has been nothing short of exceptional."
Todd Miller, incoming chamber president said his three priorities for the year include a chamber business outreach program, where board members will visit businesses for their input about the chamber and to inform them of upcoming projects, to expand the chamber's two signature community events The Oakhurst Fall Festival and the Oakhurst German Fest and to monitor the future of Oakhurst's Urgent Care.
2014 Board of Directors
Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler inducted the 2014 chamber board of directors: President Todd Miller (Miller & White), President-Elect Dan Rule (Sierra Tel), Secretary Donna Smith (Foster & Parker Insurance), Treasurer Don Eaves (Yosemite Bank), Past President Greg Chappel (Jamison & Chappel), Shelle Abbott (Central Valley Community Bank), Chris Baker (Digital Mirrors), John Bortz (Century 21 Ditton Realty), Donna Davis (The Redwoods in Yosemite), Doug Dearing (Safe Secure Services for Seniors), Betty Linn (Sierra Star), Brian Negley (Emadco), Andrew Pence (W.J. Bradley), Stephanie Simonian (47th Place Carpet One), and Keith Walker (Movie Heroes, Inc.).
Directors going off the board who were recognized for their service were Randy Papike (R. Papike Construction), Rick Hlava (Valley Regional Insurance Services), David Nemeth (Ameriprise Financial), Mike Sullivan (Sullivan's Tire Pros).