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Ripon Chamber honors volunteers, role models
Miss Ripon Camila Sweany is all smiles as Chamber Executive Director Dorothy Booth announces another honoree. - photo by HIME ROMERO
RIPON — Red Nutt was his usual wry self as he took the lectern Thursday night at the 2009 Ripon Chamber of Commerce Awards and Installation Dinner — this time stepping up as the incoming President of the Board of Directors.

But while Nutt, who was also honored as one of Ripon’s retired police chiefs alongside Harvey Douma — was quick with a joke during the night, the seriousness of those being honored for their contributions to the community was something that everybody could realize and understand.

Police Chief Richard Bull gave a stirring introduction for Officer Scott Lindsay —who was being honored as the Policeman of the Year for 2009 after more than two decades of service to the local community doing everything from investigations to patrol work – that set the tone for the remainder of the evening.

“For the last 21 years he’s been a trainer, a mentor, a jack of all trades, a friend to our kids in our schools and a nightmare for the criminals on our streets,” Bull said. “He’s been a cop’s cop, and somebody that I know I can call on to get something done.

“And I’m proud to say that I’m also able to call this man my friend.”

Lindsay received a standing ovation as he came up to be presented with his award.

Fire Chief Dennis Bitters said he could have been up there all night telling stories about the man being honored as the Fireman of the Year for 2009 – the late Captain Ron Smith.

According to Bitters, the name that the department submits to the chamber every year comes after everyone submits their pick in writing – often leading to some interesting nominations with even more interesting reasons to back them up.

This year was different.

“Every single one of those votes was for one person – and it wasn’t because this person was no longer with us, but it gave everybody in the department a chance to think about what this person did for our department in the 43 years he was a dedicated volunteer,” Bitters said before calling Smith’s son Chris up to receive the award for his father.

After 15 years of dedicated service to the Chamber of Commerce, retired Superintendent Leo Zuber was also honored for his selfless dedication to an organization that he helped run with several years under his belt at president during his tenure at the helm of Ripon’s public school system.

Both Grace Mulder and Bonnie Nutt were honored as Volunteers of the Year for 2009. After 50 years of service to Ripon Christian High School, Pete Duyst was recognized as the 2009 Teacher of the Year.

When it came time to honor the 2009 Business of the Year – which is voted on by all of the members of the Chamber of Commerce – incoming President Red Nutt showed a glimpse of his humor by naming Mar-Val Foods when it was Save Mart Supermarkets that took home the award.
Larry Rotella of Save Mart accepted the award on behalf of the local grocer.

Joining Nutt on the Executive Board will be Vice President Ron Douma, Secretary Danielle Pierce, and Treasurer Marge Imfeld. H. Thomas Beck, Helen Caetano, Kristine Griesheimer, and Dean Uecker will join Lori Adams, Bitters, Cliff Jorgensen, and Pastor Chuck Roots in rounding out the remaining members of the Board of Directors.