Pam Crawford named Unsung Hero at CofC annual banquet

UNSUNG HERO  —  Diana Agre, on the left, presented and read the nomination for the UnSung Hero for 2012 to Pam Crawford at the 48th annual dinner and awards banquet of the Conrad Area Chamber of Commerce on Saturday at Norley Hall.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler




By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

Norley Hall was packed on Friday evening for the 48th annual Conrad Area Chamber of Commerce meeting and banquet.

With only a few people knowing ahead of time, the talk of the tables was in guessing who would be selected as the CofC’s annual Unsung Hero. Pam Crawford received a huge round of applause when her name was announced during the special presentations.

Father Hugo of St. Michael’s Catholic Church gave the invocation and the Boy Scouts presented the Colors and led the diners in the Pledge of Allegiance.

CofC executive secretary Barbie Killion and host for the evening, Mitch Hauer, gave a short welcome and then while Stefan Anderson sang and recited poetry, diners made their way through the dinner line to a prime rib dinner served by Mike and Pat Harding of Big Ox BBQ and Catering.

Before the special presentations were made, a number of reports were given.

Those included reports of the year’s activities and events of the CofC, given by Killion and President Darin Stanley. In part they touched on the Harvest Fest, Christmas Stroll and National Night Out, an event that generated the help of over 100 volunteers and was highly successful.

Cheryl Curry of the Regional Port Authority said the PA is working on the Safe School walking program and has a low income house for sale in Brady.  Mayor Wendy Judisch touched on the Industrial Park and remodeling projects and sludge removal from the ponds.

Senator Llew Jones from the state legislature, said that Medicare was going to be a hot topic in Helena, and Mike Lytle presented a special award to Joan Jensen of Stockman Bank for all her help as an outgoing director.

Corey Rilley received a first time award for luncheon attendance at the meetings.

The Outstanding CofC member for the year was Bev Widhalm. At the moment, the award presentations became emotional with Scott and Pam Arvidson, owners of the Home Cafe, being named for the Business (Person) of the Year. They have been in business on Main Street for over 50 years.

That led into the Clydesdale award which is presented to a group or organization that has displayed a work-horse ethic and team work on a concept or project for the benefit of our area.

The award this year went out to the Conrad Cancer Foundation.

In talking about the foundation, how it came into being, and how cancer affects the community, Hauer had to stop and leave the dais and recompose himself for a few minutes. Killion stepped in and almost had to leave the podium as well.

Betty Olson presented the award, whose sole purpose is to help cancer patients.

The original core of volunteers was Darlene Denzer, Killion, Hauer, Jodie Weisgram, Michelle Ghekiere, Debbie Pate and Judy Larson. Olson said, “The foundation is here for anyone in our area struggling with Cancer. What a blessing to our community.”

The Clydesdale award for 2012 was accepted by the board of directors; Killion, Hauer, Terri Denzer, Weisgram, Jaynie Gollehon, Larson, Gloria Auge and Holly Gordon.

With that, Diana Agre came to the podium to present the UnSung Hero award to Crawford.

Agre said that Crawford is a caring and dependable volunteer and a great role model. “She helps neighbors and friends and will do anything when asked, not asked.” She is a greeter at the Lutheran Church, a Hospice volunteer and a Red Hat Society member.

Crawford received a special plaque and more, a resounding standing ovation as she walked up to the podium to receive her award from Agre.

Then it was show time and Hart Keene a magician from Oregon took to the stage to WOW the crowd with his memory antics and his slight-of-hand magic.

At one point, early in his show, he talked Stanley out of a $20 bill. He had him write his name with a black Sharpie across the front of the bill, then folded it once and put it in a vest pocket (remember this) and went on with the show.

Later he gave a box to Jessi Lytle. Asking her not to open or look inside it.

During his magic antics, he made several notes of the bill he had from Stanley, each time lowering the denominations from $20 to $10, to $5 and $1.

Winding down his gig, he took the box back from Lytle and gave it to Stanley. He opened the box and inside were three Kiwi fruits.

Stanley cut open one of the Kiwis and inside was his gooey $20 bill with his name on it.

I’ll leave it to you to figure out just how the $20 got inside an uncut Kiwi fruit in an unopened box that Keene gave to Lytle before he took the $20 bill from Stanley.

His show was uplifting to everyone and worth the price of admission.

The 2013 board of director for the CofC are Jennifer Byrnes-Gary and Leo’s IGA, Kyle Diedrich-Wells  Fargo Bank, Lori Durnell-McDonald Electric, Laurie Eisenzimer-Clerk of Court,  Shari Gianarelli-Gianarelli Law Office, Mike Harding-Big Ox BBQ and Catering, Mike Lytle-Mike’s Muffler and More, Gerald Miller-Gerald’s Auto Service, Cory Rilley-ITB, Cindie Vandenberg-Van Motors, Bev Widhalm-Conrad Tire and Peggy Young-Conrad Moose Lodge/Village Drug.