When you live in a great community for any length of time, and when you really begin to identify with that community, you start thinking of ways you can contribute to keep it great.
Lots of us do things big and small - donate some time at your child's school, attend city council and school board meetings, volunteer at your place of worship. If you're a business owner, you know how directly you depend on your community and you want to give something back, if only to express your gratitude.
Few folks who make these contributions expect any laurels and applause in return, necessarily. That's seldom the motivation for getting involved. The reward for service to community is usually a silent, personal one.
That doesn't mean a community can't show its appreciation, however. And every year, the Kenai and Soldotna chambers of commerce do their part to help the community express that great big "Thanks" to those individuals, groups and businesses who do give without expectation of general acknowledgment.
We give a thumb's up for these individuals, businesses and organizations who epitomized community service this year.
Kenai Chamber of Commerce Community Awards:
* Business/Organization of the Year: Friends of the Kenai Library.
* Small Business of the Year: David Schilling and the Uptown Motel, Louie's Steak and Seafood and the Backdoor Sports Bar.
* Community Service: Tim Navarre.
* Volunteer of the Year: Jodi Stuart.
* Service to Youth Award: Gary Toombs and Coca Cola of Kenai.
* Presidents Award: Brendyn Shiflea.
* Pioneer Award: Dale and Barb Sandal.
* Log Cabin Award: Roy Wells.
Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Community Awards:
* President's Choice: Becky Hutchinson.
* Pioneer of the Year: Paul Moses.
* Person of the Year: Ryan Smith.
* Business of the Year: Peninsula Clarion.
* Volunteer of the Year: Janet Pope.
* Excellence in Profession: Stan Stedman.
* Devoted Service to Youth: Bill Holt.
* Small Business of the Year: Odie's Deli.
* Community, Government and Civic Affairs: Soldotna Community Memorial Park Design Committee; and the residents of Soldotna who raised funds and volunteered to build the Soldotna Community Playground.
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