Ahwahnee contractor Randy Papike and Yosemite High School history teacher Ellen Peterson have been named Man and Woman of the Year, and Sullivan’s Tire Pros has been selected Business of the Year for 2014 by the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce. The honorees will be acknowledged at the chamber’s 2015 Installation Dinner & Awards Ceremony, 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 16, at Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp.
“January 16 will be a special evening to welcome the new 2015 board of directors and honor those who go above and beyond in our community,” said Todd Miller, outgoing chamber president.
Papike and his wife Kandi, high school sweethearts from Lakeside, have lived in Ahwahnee for 25 years, and have owned R. Papike Construction for more than 20 years. Both their sons, Travis, 32, and Tyler, 30, are graduates of Yosemite High School. He has been a chamber member for 12 years, and has served on the board of directors for several years. He is a member and past president of Oakhurst Sierra Rotary Club and sits on the board of the Eastern Madera County Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which oversees grant funds for a number of non-profits. He is a former board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst and the Mountain Area Soccer League.
He has provided countless volunteer hours to the community, including helping arrange for the Oakhurst Community Park pavilion, many projects for the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst, and the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park.
Peterson has taught history at Yosemite High since the school opened in 1976. She was named Madera County Teacher of the Year in 1999, and has been named Teacher of the Year by students at YHS numerous times. She is married to John Peterson, a volunteer firefighter with Oakhurst Station 12.
In addition to her devotion in the classroom, she is known as one of the most enthusiastic and motivational coaches in the Central Valley. Since taking over the program in 1986, she has led the Badger girls cross country team to 24 league titles (23 consecutive before edged by Kerman in 2012). The boys team has finished first or second in league for 29 consecutive years. In her earlier years at Yosemite, she coached girls basketball and softball.
Two years ago, Peterson, a former member of the U.S. Army, took over the leadership role of the Yosemite High Cadet Corps.
Sullivan’s Tire Pros, formerly Big O Tires, is owned by Mike and Diane Sullivan who moved to Oakhurst from Concord, and opened the tire and auto repair business in 2001. Mike has served on the chamber board for several years and was the board’s treasurer for a year. Both Mike and Diane are past members of Rotary Club.
The business has been a sponsor of the Mountain Area Toys for Tots drive for 10 years and supports a variety of other events and organizations in Oakhurst throughout the year. Mike has also served on the National Dealer Council for both Big O and Tire Pros.
The couple have three sons that all work at the store - Mike, Jr., Brian, and Steven - and two daughters.
The criteria for the Man and Woman of the Year awards include length, volume, and quality of service to the community, with service to the chamber being secondary.
The Business of the Year criteria includes contributions to area events, organizations, and chamber activities, enhances community image, and respected by community and its own employees.
Lifetime Achievement Award & Executive Director’s Award
The Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring a long time community member, will be announced at the dinner. The award is the highest honor the chamber can bestow, and it is presented only to those who have shown “extraordinary contributions to the community through many, many years of service.”
Former recipients of The Lifetime Achievement Award have been Jack and Jane Gyer (2004), Gary Pence (2005), Harry Baker (2006), Tommie Underwood (2007), May Gene Krieghoff (2010), and Archie Macaulay (2013).
Soukup will also announce his 2014 Executive Director’s Award at the dinner - Madera County Economic Development Commission headed by Bobby Kahn, for the organization’s support of the Eastern Madera County Chamber Alliance. The alliance is made up of representatives from the Oakhurst, Coarsegold, Bass Lake, and North Fork chambers working on behalf of common interests along the highway 41 corridor.
Chamber 2015 slate of officers and directors
New chamber officers for 2015 are President Dan Rule (Sierra Tel), President Elect Don Eaves (Yosemite Bank), Secretary Donna Davis (The Redwoods in Yosemite), Treasurer Betty Linn (Sierra Star), and Past President Todd Miller (Miller & White CPAs).
2015 newly elected directors are Melanie Barker (realtor with Bass Lake Realty), Anne Driscoll (Branches Books & Gifts), and Shawna Petrushkin (Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.). Re-elected directors are Andrew Pence (W.J. Bradley Mortgage), and Stephanie Simonian (47th Place Carpet One).
Continuing directors are Shelle Abbott (Central Valley Community Bank), John Bortz (Century 21 Ditton Realty), and Brian Negley (Emaddco Disposal Service).
Outgoing board members are Chris Baker (Digital Mirrors), Donna Smith (Foster & Parker Insurance), Doug Dearing (retired), and Keith Walker (Movie Heroes, Inc.).
The chamber’s Executive Director Darin J. Soukup said the entire Eastern Madera County community is invited to celebrate and honor the award recipients, recognize the outgoing board members, and and welcome the incoming 2015 board members.
“This is our second year with a new format where we openly welcome friends, family, and neighbors of the award recipients to attend as we recognize the honorees’ many years of selfless service to our community,” Soukup said.
Tickets for the dinner cost $40 per person. Attendees have the choice of three entrees - pork loin medallions, western flat iron steak, or pasta baci kiss. Tenaya Lodge is offering a special $119 room rate for the night for those attending the dinner. A round trip shuttle service for $15 per person is being offered by Discover Yosemite.
Details: For dinner and shuttle reservations, and special Tenaya room rate code, call the chamber, (559) 683-7766.
-Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce contributed to this story