Awardees celebrated with friends and colleagues at Chamber banquet.photo by Jerry Baldock
Awardees celebrated with friends and colleagues at Chamber banquet.photo by Jerry Baldock
Chamber Executive Director Judy Trego announced the Chamber is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. What began as the Sisters Organization of Businesses (SOBs), with meetings held at a local bar, has grown into one of the largest institutional organizations in Sisters with 280 members representing 1,500 employees. A volunteer nine-member board of directors oversees the Chamber activities.

The Business of the Year award went to Beacham’s Clock Company, and Citizen of the Year is Toni Landis (see related stories pages 24 and 25).

Volunteer of the Year Gary Frazee is perhaps best known as the long-serving Public Works Director for the City of Sisters until 2007, when he “retired.”

From 1973, when Frazee moved to Sisters, he also owned and operated several businesses while working at the City, raised a family, and still found time for a busy volunteer career with numerous organizations spanning over 40 years.

He served as a reserve officer for the City of Sisters police department from 1989 to 1996 and then joined the reserve department of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office from 1996-2000. He has been a member of the Bend Elks since 1971, Sisters Kiwanis since 1989, as well as Sisters VFW. He has been active with the Sisters Folk Festival, Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, and parades in Sisters. He served as a Deschutes County Fair board member and joined the Sisters Rodeo Association in 2008.

Besides being an active member of all these organizations, he was selected as the Kiwanian of the Year in 2008 and the Sisters Rodeo Volunteer of the Year in 2009, and now Volunteer of the Year by the Chamber.

Despite being semi-retired and doing a fair share of traveling, Frazee is the general manager of Hawk’s Haven wildlife reserve during the spring and summer. And he still finds time to volunteer.

In accepting his award, Frazee said simply, “It’s been a pleasure. I enjoy volunteering. As long as it’s fun, I’ll keep doing it.”

The Country Fair and Art Show at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration was named the Nonprofit of the Year for their giving back to the community since 1995. Held on a weekend in August, there is a juried art show and artists reception on Friday evening in the parish hall, followed by Saturday’s art show and Country Fair on the church grounds.

For the first six years, proceeds of the show and fair were split 50/50 between paying for construction of the parish hall and providing funds for local community support agencies. Since completion of construction in 2001, all proceeds have been given to 30 different local agencies. 2019 was a record year with $23,000 in community grants awarded.

In accepting the award, church member Frank Guthrie said the 2020 show and fair will be the 25th and issued an invitation to everyone to “come and play with us.”

A fairly new business in town, Bullseye Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning, and owner/operator Ben Redlich received the Customer Service Award. For the short time he has been here, he has made an impression with his outstanding customer service, providing high-quality work efficiently and promptly. Redlich describes himself as a people person and according to him, his game plan is fairly simple, “Do a great job while getting to know your customers.”

Redlich has made customer satisfaction his priority. His five-star ratings and positive reviews through phone calls and letters to the Chamber provide the proof that he is successfully meeting his goal. The most rewarding aspect of his work is to complete the task in a timely manner with attention to detail, at a fair price, while striving to do a job of which he is proud.

Redlich accepted his award saying, “I love my work… My office is your home.”

The Lodge in Sisters, the new boutique senior living facility located next to the U.S. Post Office, received the Pioneering Spirit award for providing a facility and environment that supports seniors as they live the lifestyle they want. The lodge-inspired community enjoys unparalleled views of the nearby mountains with a variety of living options from which to choose. They offer independent living for active seniors, assisted living for those in need of support with the activities of daily living, and short-term respite stays.

The Lodge offers a wide variety of activities both onsite and in the community, as well as inviting the community to events at the residence.

Scott Nye, general manager of The Lodge said, “We are so very, very pleased to have been nominated. We are happy to bring families back together while taking care of whatever their needs are.”

The Lodge opened less than a year ago with about 60 living units, over half of which are already occupied. Amenities include an activities room, media theater and TV room, beauty salon and barber shop, 24-hour fitness center, a Lodge bus, parlor, library and multiple sitting rooms, onsite chapel, restaurant-style dining, 24-hour café, massage room, laundry facilities, onsite recycling center, and pet-friendly apartments.

The award-winners are selected from nominations made by Chamber members.