Last night, the Manson Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual event, “A Night to Remember,” putting several community superstars in the spotlight. The event took place at the Crosswinds Restaurant at the 12 Tribes Casino in Manson. Two of the Chamber’s finest, Mariah Koester (Marketing) and Erik Cooper (Public Relations) transformed the restaurant space into a sparkling celebration, welcoming each guest at the door.
The attendees dressed to the nines. The tables and chairs dazzled in sparkly linens and chair wraps, bejeweled mirrors covering raw-edge wood rounds. Tiny twinkling trees sat on each table. The ambiance that buzzed through the room was proud, admirable, and cheery.
Manson Chamber of Commerce President, Kim Ustanik, and Director, Tom Tochterman, began the evening with a warm welcome, stating their appreciation for everyone in attendance, giving recognition to the strong community we have in our small town, and even taking a moment of silence for two Manson locals we have lost this year who have not been forgotten and who are still held in our hearts.
The Manson Chamber of Commerce honors two individuals and one organization at the annual Night to Remember event. The positions voted on are Volunteer of the Year, Most Inspirational of the Year, and Business/Organization of the Year. All nominations and votes are made by the people of the Manson community.
For the 2023 Volunteer of the Year, Manson’s Norm Manly was chosen. Manly was recognized for this above and beyond contribultions to the Manson community, such as volunteering his time at the desk at the Manson Visitor’s Center, hosting ambassador training programs for local volunteers, his continuous search for and recruitment of new Manson volunteers, the large role he plays in the Manson Youth Fair, promotion of local public events, his help in the development of new hobby events at the Manson Grange, and his constant writing of articles for local media platforms recognizing events and hard workig businesses and indivudals in our community. And many, many more. Thank you Norm Manly for the integral role you play in our Manson community!
When given the microphone, Manly humbly thanked several other people in the room for their important contributions as well.
For the 2023 Most Inspirational of the Year, Manson’s Jeff Conwell was chosen.
Conwell was recognized for his ever-present, contagious smile and ability to make anyone laugh, his very recognizable care for the members of the Lake Chelan community, as well as his constant optimism and support for each and every individual and business. When given a turn to speak, Conwell thanked a man in the room for being his very first customer when he opened his own Manson business in 2012, empathizing the hard work it takes and even feelings of nervousness that everyone shares working in a small town.
For the 2023 Business/Organization of the Year, the North Shore Christian School was chosen.
North Shore Christian School President and Co-Founder, Hillary Belton, and Vice President and Co-Founder, Kelsey Chavez were given the award. The school was recognized for its innovative and caring approach to early learning, and for holding values that are a seamless fit into those of the Manson community. When given a chance to speak, Belton and Chavez thanked everyone and gave a heartfelt speech on how they are trying hard to raise good human beings that will be the next leaders in our community. North Shore Christian school is currently on it’s second year of operation, with plans to expand one grade per year as they progress.
The Manson School District was also given the opportunity to award two outstanding individuals a Blue and White Excellence Award. Manson Elementary School Principal, Ben Riippi, presented Dane Johnson, Manson Elementary School 5th grade teacher, and Margarito Barrios, Head Elementary Custodian each with an award. He had wonderful, appreciative things to say about them both, stating that Johnson is everyone’s dream teacher, and that Barrios is not only an excellent member of the school but also a wonderful cook!