THE LADY IS A HERO — Former Chamber of Commerce President Betty Olson presents Gloria (Auge) Rudd with a plaque for being selected as the CofC Unsung Hero for 2012. Surrounded by Boy Scouts from the left Scout Master Carl Bonser, Barry Mills, John Anthony Friede, Jacob Bonser and Jordan Mills, the presentation was made on Friday at the 47th annual meeting and banquet of the CofC. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
A packed house at Norley Hall on Saturday put their hands together and stood as Gloria Rudd was announced by Betty Olson as the Conrad Area Chamber of Commerce Unsung Hero for 2012.
To many she may be better known as Gloria Auge, owner of Ed’s Tavern. But on Saturday she was even better known as a “hero.”
Before Rudd was announced there was other business to take care of, building up the anticipation as to whom the Unsung Hero would be.
New CofC President Darn Stanley of Farm Bureau Financial Services and Barb Killion, Motivations, gave a short welcome. Stanley told the crowd of things to come from the CofC, such as a new scholarship for a high school senior and the start up of a summer festival at the Conrad Lions Club Swimming Pool Park.
The first CofC presentation of the evening, presented by Board Member Mike Lytle was for Outgoing Board Member(s) of the Year.
There was a three-way tie between Mary Erickson, Carole Jones and Joel Farkell, outgoing president.
The CofC board of directors for 2012 was introduced and it includes Stanley FBFS, President; Killion 1st VP, Motivations, CBC, CCF; Gerald Miller, 2nd VP, Gerald’s Auto Service; Bev Widhalm, Conrad Tire; Cindie Vandenberg, Van Motors; Mike Harding, Big Ox BBQ and Catering-Weikum Inn; G. Rudd, Ed’s Tavern; Joan Jensen, Stockman Bank; Laurie Eisenzimer, First American Title Company; M. Lytle, Mike’s Muffles and More; and Jennifer Byrnes, The Lobby.
Conrad Mayor Wendy Judisch reported on the completion of the waste water treatment plant, a $5.2 million investment for Conrad. “It’s helping our town move forward,” she said. She went on to note that the rest area has become a reality.
Cheryl Curry of the Regional Port Authority echoed the mayors note of cooperation with the county and PA.
She said, “Ag and wind development is coming and oil and gas exploration is going on, “We’re moving forward.”
Curry also noted the PA will be doing an impact on the potential of what we’re going to be facing in the future.
George Tornga gave a quick report on the Pondera Arts Council and the need for the Orpheum Theater to go digital for showing movies.
A $5,000 anonymous match has already been met for the new equipment. “You have a need and people will step up, I’m just in awe,” he said. A down payment for the digital equipment has been made.
In special presentations, Lytle presented Miller with the Outstanding Board Member award. A fairly new presentation, the Clydesdale award, went to the Conrad Volunteer Fire Department. This award is presented to a group displaying a workhorse ethic working on a project for the benefit of our area.
The Business Person of the Year, presented by Miller went to Ron Ries and that was followed by the presentation of the Unsung Hero.
Olson, in introducing Rudd, commented on the countless benefits and donations her business has made to help others. Just a few to benefit from her generosity are Denny Habets, Chad Gordon, Al Missik and Kelly Gebhart.
She is involved with the museum and history association, participates in the Christmas Giving Tree program, the Tavern Association Christmas baskets, and has hosted Christmas parties for years for children and hosted a benefit for the Food Pantry that netted them $3,000 in cash and food.
Olson said, “The Chamber is lucky to have her as a new board member, but I’m blessed to have her as my good friend.”
Kudos needs to go out to the CofC for bringing in comedian Kermet Apio for the evening’s entertainment.
A transplanted Hawaiian who is based in Seattle, he was in a word, ridiculous (funny). With a mixture of anecdotes, storytelling and comic wit, Apio kept the large audience laughing and wanting more when he all too soon, ended his show after a little more than an hour of non-stop banter.
A side note to his routine, Apio’s timing and delivery was so good that he didn’t need to try and spice his act with profanity like so many comics do today.
In a raffle, Ambrose Hansmon won $500 and Jerry Christensen went home a $1,000 richer than when he came in.
The local Boy Scouts presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Pastor Dale Janzen from the Community New Life Church gave the invocation, Ed’s Tavern provided a no host bar and a terrific meal was catered by Big Ox BBQ and Catering.
The Close Up and Crew America kids were serving dinner and clearing tables to raise money for up-coming trips.
After the dinner music for dancing was provided by the Raging Dragon.
Once again the CofC put on a festive and entertaining evening for their annual banquet.