Chamber names 2016’s top citizen, business owners

Randy Curtis, Jerry and Mary Sauer will be honored June 1

A man whose volunteer work has had a positive impact on local school facilities, put the spotlight on downtown Camas history, and helped to enhance new parks and recreation opportunities has been named the Camas-Washougal area’s top citizen.

The Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce announced Monday that Camas resident Randy Curtis has been selected as the Citizen of the Year, while Jerry and Mary Sauer, owners of Excavator Rental Services, LLC, in Camas, have been named the Businesspersons of the Year.

They, along with two college scholarship winners, and the Camas and Washougal school district’s Educators of the Year will be celebrated during an awards banquet Wednesday, June 1, at Camas Meadows Golf Club.

Curtis moved to Camas from Salem, Oregon, in 2009, with his wife, Melanie, and became involved in the local community soon after.

He is currently a member of the Downtown Camas Association Board and the Camas Parks and Recreation Commission. Recently, Curtis was actively involved in researching the history of the revitalization of downtown Camas, which dates back to the early 1960s, in preparation for April First Friday events dedicated to a celebration of the area’s past.

Curtis previously served as chairman of the Camas Community Center Development Committee. He was also part of the Washougal School District’s fiscal advisory committee and its facilities committee, which took an in-depth look at Washougal schools and buildings, and made the recommendation to the School Board to place a capital improvement bond on the February 2015 ballot. It was ultimately passed by voters.

Curtis was nominated for the chamber award by a group that represented several of the organizations and causes with which he has been involved.

“Though relatively new to the community, Randy understands the deeper history of the adjoining communities and works to support the future of both, just as if he were an old-timer,” the nomination letter reads. “He represents a new-age Camas-Washougal volunteer — someone who sees that no lines or barriers need to exist between our two towns and is supportive and active in both.”

The Sauers, of Camas, celebrated ERS’ 10th anniversary in March 2015, and opened a branch office in Wilsonville, Oregon, in April 2016.

Sauer Development Group LLC purchased the Tidland Corporate Center, at 2305 S.E. Eighth Ave., Camas, for $3.3 million in 2014. It includes 64,000 square feet of industrial buildings and a 6.03-acre campus. The couple also owns Your Party & Event Center in Camas, and Your Rental Center in Hood River, Oregon.

The Sauers contribute funding and time to many local organizations and efforts such as the Camas High School boosters and graduation night committee, Port of Camas-Washougal, Washougal Christmas Parade and Dozer Days, as well as events in Skamania County including the fair, parades and concerts.

Educators, students will also be recognized at banquet

Washougal School District officials selected Wendy Morrill, a learning assistance program teacher at Gause Elementary School for its Educator of the Year honor.

Morrill, a former first- and second-grade teacher who now specializes in teaching reading at all grade levels, has worked for the WSD for 15 years.

“Morrill is an asset to our district,” said Assistant Superintendent Patsy Boles. “She focuses on making decisions based on what’s in the best interest of students and student learning.”

The Camas School District’s honorees are part of a Teacher on Special Assignment team, a group that includes educators Mark Gardner, Melissa Levison, Stephen Roiko, Diane Loghry, Meghan Johnson, Sarah Widdop, Sarah Kankelberg and Matt Grunwald.

Superintendent Mike Nerland said this group of educators shares a passion for supporting their professional peers, and by extension the students they all serve.

“Part of the responsibility for the TOSA team is to work on district initiatives,” Nerland said. “They have collaborated in the design and delivery of professional learning courses available to all educators in the district. The TOSA team also supports the growth of other educators through coaching and mentoring in classrooms.”

Specific programs that have been addressed by the team include developing and implementing a new program to assist first- and second-year teachers; implementing and supporting full-day kindergarten; creating a summer program to help struggling readers; and leading an initiative that puts a tablet in the hand of each student to connect them with new opportunities for collaboration and creation.

The chamber selected two students to each receive a scholarship. They are Mason Minder, Camas High School, and Rebecca Bennett, Washougal High School.

Citizen of the Year banquet tickets, $35 per person, can be purchased by calling the chamber at 834-2472 or visiting the downtown Camas office at 422 N.E. Fourth Ave.