Wills selected as citizen of the year for civic involvement

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: BEVERLY CORBELL - Presenting the award for Gresham Elks Elk of the Year award to Lef Hofer, center, were last years recipient Betty Chisum, left, and Exalterd Ruler Jim Hosmer.The Gresham Elks Lodge honored its own as well as others in the community at its annual awards banquet Saturday, March 8, with more than 100 people attending.

Chosen by the Elks as Citizen of the Year was Bess Wills, owner of Gresham Ford, for her involvement in many nonprofit organizations including My Father’s House and SnowCap, said emcee Jack Piercy.

The Elks also chose Don Lewis, club treasurer, as Officer of the Year.

“It gets into your heart, but it takes all of us to do this,” Lewis said in his acceptance speech.

And from its 500 members, the Elks chose Les Hofer as Elk of the Year, who took over and ran the Elks’ bingo program this past year.

Richard Sieverson was honored as Gresham Firefighter of the Year for his unflagging positive attitude, said Division Chief Mark Maunder, and the way he serves people “on what may be the worst day of their lives.”

Gresham Police Chief Craig Junginger presented the Gresham Police Officer of the Year Award to Tony Smith, who for 13 years has been in the honor guard and on the bike patrol during summer months.

“He will talk to anybody,” Junginger said. “But one of the most important things is that he was not chosen by me, but the officers in the department. He was chosen by his peers.”

Fairview Police Officer of the Year Eric Flener was also selected by his fellow officers. Detective Flener works homicides, investigates sex offenders, teaches self-defense classes and launched a new program property identification program.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: BEVERLY CORBELL - Presenting the award for Gresham Elks Citizen of the Year Award to Bess Wills, left, was Exalted Ruler Jim Hosmer.Troutdale Police Officer of the Year Dave Licht is a field training officer and firearms inspector and was recognized for the “excitement and enthusiasm he brings to the job,” said Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson.

Another highlight of the evening was the awarding of Elks scholarships to seven area high school students, presented by Elks member Tina Tebbens.

Two students, Arianne Melton of Gresham High and Austin Weichlein of Barlow High, received scholarship awards for $1,500.

Melton has been involved in Intel’s International Science and Engineering program and was the International Thespian Society’s statewide showcase winner. Most recently she played the lead in her school’s production of “Hello Dolly” and has been a volunteer at the Gresham Library since 2005.

Weichlein was not able to attend because of a family commitment, but his award will be presented at a later date along with $1,000 scholarship award winner James Palmiter of Gresham High, who was at a band competition in Seattle.

Ely Crawford of Barlow High was awarded a $500 scholarship. Crawford has excelled academically, and been active in intramural athletics, Boy Scouts and the 4-H Club.

Also receiving a $500 scholarship was Aimee Grove of Metro East Academy. She is a member of the National Honor Society, participates in tennis and cross-country and is opinion editor of her school’s newspaper.

Dominique Cruz-Reyes of Barlow High was awarded the Sally Lamm Scholarship for scoring highest in the Most Valuable Student Scholarship contest. Her score was based on her employment and community service, leadership, extracurricular activities and financial need. She will receive $1,000 for the award.

“Dominique has made quite an impression on all of us this year,” Tebbens said. “She exudes the most positive attitude about her life and goals. She has managed to maintain excellent grades while volunteering as a soccer coach, as a teacher in her church and helping the SnowCap program while working part-time.”

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