"Chamber to fete Man, Woman of Year"

"The Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce will announce the recipients of its annual Man and Woman of the Year awards at a ceremony Oct. 9 at Givens Community Center.Traditionally, the chamber sends out award information to service organizations and newspapers to coax people into nominating a hard-working volunteer they see as active in the Port Orchard community. The next step is sending a letter to the chamber praising the efforts of the nominee (which the person remains clueless of who nominated them) by the cutoff date, and then a group of past awards recipients reads through the letters and pares the list down to six finalists (three men and three women) and finally, the two winners.This year's nominees for Man and Woman of the Year are Phil McCormick, Ron Rada, Virgil Reames, Debbie Austin, Lorraine MacGeorge, and Kerry Stevens.They're excellent examples that any community would be proud to support, said Melode Sapp, executive director of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. Even to be nominated is an honor.Although a few of those names might sound familiar, here's some background information on the nominees.* Phil McCormick is the owner (with his wife Katy) of Rewind Music & Coffee Co. and president of the Bay Street Merchants Association, which has increased 75 percent in membership since he took office. McCormick served 10 years in the United States Navy and works for the fleet industrial supply center at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. He has been involved in community building projects like Festival By the Bay, The Cruz, Bunny Hop, Lights and Chimes, painting of the Bay Street marquee, improving crosswalks and signage downtown and served as grand marshal of the 2001 Fathoms o'Fun parade.* Ron Rada is an investment representative with Edward Jones and recently completed a two-year term as president of the Chamber of Commerce. Rada is a chamber ambassador (greeting new businesses and working weekly with Chamber Bingo), a member of the Port Orchard Kiwanis, an elected freeholder, and involved in both Port Orchard and Manchester improvement committees. He donates to the open house Halloween party at Givens, sponsors new teacher get-acquainted breakfasts, reads to kindergarten classes, and (along with his wife Joyce) is very active in the Port Orchard Methodist Church. * Virgil Reames is a historian responsible for the operation, preservation and maintenance of the Sidney Museum and Art Gallery and is current president (and member since 1984) of the Board of Directors of the museum. Reames works on the Log Cabin Museum, collects and reproduces old photographs for the Sidney and Kitsap County Historical museums, organized the 2000 PO Historical Home Tour, and is involved with Pie and Ice Cream Social and Log Cabin pictures with Santa. * Debbie Austin (along with husband John) is owner of Austin Landscaping, Inc. and has been a Chamber member since 1997 and Chamber treasurer for the past two years. Austin (who started volunteering at age 17 selling Fathoms o'Fun buttons) was part of the Great Ball Race committee, has been a member of Beta Sigma Phi sorority for 26 years serving on their Ways and Means committee involved in local and national fundraising projects, and is a member of Soroptimists International, holding office for three years. She and the rest of Austin Landscaping, Inc. work with the Job Training Center and the Work Release Program to provide job skills and work ethics to people entering the work force.* Lorraine MacGeorge is a former Puget Sound Naval Shipyard worker who moved to Port Orchard from Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1955. MacGeorge has been a Brownie and Girl Scout volunteer (1955-1960), joined the Eagles Auxiliary and served as their president, bingo chair, community services chair, district chair, and formed their Kitchen Band. She has been involved in VFW Auxiliary, visits residents at Washington Veteran's Home at Retsil, provides seasonal decorations in the VFW window on Bay Street (for over 20 years) and remains active in community volunteerism at age 91.* Kerry Stevens is an attorney, former Chamber president, and has served numerous terms on the Chamber Board of Directors (including the present). Stevens is active in many Chamber activities such as Bingo, The Cruz, and The Great Ball Race, among others. She is involved in the Kitsap County Volunteer Attorney Association, on a regular basis provides free legal counsel to victims of domestic violence, mentors a young woman, and has twice been a volunteer with the International Observers Program in Northern Ireland in an effort to reduce the likelihood of violence in that troubled region.It is volunteers who make quality of life better for everyone, Sapp said. They are good inspiration for other people.The first Man of the Year award was given by the Chamber in 1963 to Dr. Howard Minor. In 1971, Jean Schoenrock was the first woman to receive the honor (although, it was still called Man of the Year), and 1982 marks the first year of Man and Woman of the Year awards.It's kind of a statement of the times, how things have changed over the years, said Sapp.The event on Oct. 9 will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a social and 7 p.m. is dinner with the ceremony following immediately after. In addition to the Man and Woman of the Year awards, the evening is also a Chamber Installation where new and current board members swap, drop and switch positions if their three-year term deems necessary.Most of (the nominees and recipients) don't want recognition, said Sapp. They are folks who have worked quietly behind the scenes. They're a remarkable group of people. "

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