LEBANON — Although he’s supposedly retired, Robert “Bob” Adams, 79, seldom slows down and the community of Lebanon is all the better for his unselfish dedication.
Adams received the Distinguished Citizen award Tuesday evening during the annual Lebanon Chamber of Commerce/Jaycees awards banquet held at The River Center. Nearly 400 people attended the event — themed “An Evening in Paradise” — which was catered by Mallard Creek Golf Course with desserts by Kris’s Kitchen.
Special guests included 2011 Strawberry Court princesses. The National Anthem was sung by Lebanon High School students under the direction of Kevin Wong. The colors were presented by the Lebanon High School Junior ROTC Color Guard.
The Distinguished Citizen presentation was made by last year’s winner, Ray Hendricks.
A native of Weed, Calif., Adams and his wife, Betty, moved to Lebanon in 1964 and owned Adams Pharmacy for many years.
Adams was Lebanon’s Man of the Year in 1984, has served on the city council, chaired the Lebanon United Fund, chaired the Linn County United Fund, served on the chamber board, was a Strawberry Fair board member, and served on the Willamette Valley Rehabilitation Center board and LBCC small business advisory board.
But it is at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital where Adams has especially focused his attention. He joined the hospital board in 1970 and has served seven years each as vice president and president.
He was instrumental in helping establish Samaritan Health Services in 1997, when Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis and Lebanon Community Hospital merged. The first president of the Samaritan Health Services board of directors, Adams remains active on the hospital’s foundation board of trustees.
“So, you see, our honoree has not slowed down after retirement,” Hendricks said. “Each and every one of us present tonight has felt the effect of this man’s influence in the community of Lebanon.”
Volunteers involved in nearly every facet of daily life in the community were also recognized by the chamber of commerce and Jaycees.
Circuit Court Judge Tom McHill was named Man of the Year. The award was presented by Kevin Martinez.
“He has dedicated himself to public service and has served the citizens of Lebanon for more than 28 years in the professional arena as well as being involved in a number of volunteer community-related events and activities,” Martinez said.
McHill has served on the board of directors of the Willamette Valley Rehab Center, Willamette Manor Assisted Living, Lebanon Fire District Budget Committee, Lebanon Community School District, Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce and Lebanon Boys & Girls Club.
Dala Johnson presented the Woman of the Year award to Nancy Kirks.
“This person always redirects praise and any kind of spotlight onto someone else and away from herself,” Johnson said.
Kirks is active with Build Lebanon Trails, Reading Buddies, Planting Seeds of Change, Lebanon Communities that Care and B.U.L.B.
“She is very dedicated to making Lebanon a healthier and more inviting community,” Johnson said.
Kirks works at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital and has “brought the hospital into the community not only as a vital organization to the community, but also as a force for both change and good. She embodies the mission of the hospital, its mission and message to improve the health of the community of Lebanon.”
Jason Williams presented the Junior First Citizen award to Lori Hill.
“Our winner is known for her kind spirit and caring nature,” Williams said. “She is well known for her generosity of time, skills and commitment to improve organizations such as the Lebanon Boys & Girls Club, Women in Business, Ambassadors; she serves on the chamber board of directors.”
Williams said Hill devotes hundreds of hours annually to local nonprofit organizations and also runs the Lebanon branch of Central Willamette Community Credit Union. She and her husband have two children.
Several special awards were also presented.
Larry Mullins, president and CEO of Samaritan Health Services received the chamber’s Business Leader of the Year award for his vision and leadership that have created a strong, stable hospital and development of the Samaritan Health Sciences Campus that will be anchored by the new College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific — Northwest.
He also played a key role in a partnership between the city of Lebanon, Linn County and Samaritan to locate the new state veterans home in Lebanon.
“Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them,” presenter Shelly Garrett said. “Our Business Leader of the Year is a true visionary. His vision has changed the course of Lebanon’s direction forever and I suspect he’s only getting started.”
The Rick Franklin Corporation received the Large Business of the Year Award.
The company has “old-fashioned values,” presenter Rick Petersen said. “Rick Franklin believes in keeping dollars in the United States, providing family-wage jobs, along with supporting his community.”
The company has a reputation for “honesty, integrity, safety, environmentally-sound business practices along with a sincere concern for their business partners,” he said.
Xtreme Grafx, owned by Arthur and Patty Meeker, was named Small Business of the Year.
Nominations included comments such as “always generous with his time and promoting Lebanon,” “constantly thinking outside the box,” and “he freely donates his time, materials and finished goods.”
Meeker recently designed and created clothing items promoting tourism in Lebanon for the chamber of commerce.
Jolene Watson was recognized as the chamber’s Volunteer of the Year for always being willing to jump in and tackle any project needed, especially making fliers and promoting local events.
She also serves on the board of directors of the Boys & Girls Club, Lebanon Community Foundation and Willamette Manor and works with Partners for Progress.
Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist, John Lindsey and Will Tucker were recognized for their efforts to improve the community, including lobbying to get Lowe’s Distribution Center, supporting returning military troops returning from Iraq, and promoting the community as the site of the new veterans home.
A new “Frankie Gray Answer the Call” award was unveiled Tuesday evening during the annual Lebanon Chamber of Commerce/Jaycees distinguished service awards banquet held at The River Center.
Gray, 85, has lived in Lebanon since 1941 and retired in 1987 after 25 years at the Bank of Lebanon, Citizens Valley Bank and Key Bank.
“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me,” Gray said of her dedication to the community.
Gray has been named Lebanon’s Woman of the Year, Senior First Citizen, is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, American Legion 40 & 8, is a flag bearer for the American Legion Auxiliary, serves with the Lebanon Garden Club and enjoys bringing flowers to others in the community and is an Altrusa Club member.
She has been extremely active with the Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital Auxiliary, where she has served as treasurer, secretary, president, publicity and scrapbook chair and was named outstanding auxiliary member in 2000.
“Frankie Gray is easily recognizable around town,” said Shelly Garrett, chamber executive director. “She’s an energetic little bee who instead of fertilizing flowers, delivers flowers to everyone.”
Garrett said the new annual award is named in Gray’s honor because, “with Frankie, the phone doesn’t even have to ring and she’s there to help.”