Chamber Member of the Year honors went to Anderson’s Tribute Center, and owners Jack and Debbie Trumbull, at the Hood River Chamber of Commerce’s annual membership event, Feb. 23 at the Hood River Hotel.
“This was a long time coming for them,” said Chamber Membership Coordinator Kate Schroeder in presenting the award.
Michael Barthmes earned the Don Benton Community Service Award and the New Member Award went to Heritage Family Medicine, located in Pine Grove, owned by Dr. Neal Douglas, a family physician who relocated from Portland in 2017.
“This means so much,” Douglas told the 100 or so people in attendance.
Executive Director Mike Glover extended “a big thank you” to the chamber’s out-going president, Janet Davis.
“She had a strong hand with the chamber, and it has been a real pleasure to work with her,” Glover said. Davis will be succeeded by Dillon Borton of KeyBank, who was not present. “I joined and wanted to be an active ambassador because I wanted to be with grownups,” said Davis, owner of Our Children’s Place. “I worked my way around the table, and it came to, ‘We need a president’ and I said, ‘Oh, great’,” said Davis, accompanied by her husband, Chris.
“I told them that I am excited to be board chair and if I made a difference and I wasn’t just a breathing body sitting in a seat and they took that very seriously, as did I,” Davis said. “We saw some exciting changes and energy come to the chamber. There has always been energy, and the staff is beyond incredible. If you knew what they do behind the scenes for the chamber, you would be amazed. Thank you for trusting your business dollars to join the best opportunity you have in Hood River, and there is so much more the chamber can offer you might not be aware of.”
She announced a “revitalized” Chamber Ambassador program led by board member Linda Brown, who was not present.
Chamber members will be invited to an “ambassador program social” in March, envisioning the greeter cadre as “doing all kinds of things to kind of the fingers of the chamber.”
The Don Benton Community Service Award for the late Don Benton, a community activist and servant, went to Barthmes, described by Chamber Vice President Ashley Huckaby May as “a gentleman who has one above and beyond to further relationships between the chamber and members. He is a voice of his colleagues and he has stood firm in his beliefs and put a lot of time and energy into furthering our relationship between the chamber and the downtown.” Barthmes was not present.
Douglas accepted his New Business Award from Schroeder, who in January rejoined the chamber after a year away.
“I took a major risk in pulling away from a guaranteed pay check in Portland and I had to come here and trust this community,” said Douglas, who operates a membership-based family practice that charges direct payment for services instead of billing insurance companies.
“And I have to say this: I am so blessed,” Douglas said. “This community has embraced what we’re trying to do in the Gorge, and we are so blessed to have reached so many people.
“I’m revolutionizing healthcare in the community of Hood River — it’s about having access to your doctor and making medical care affordable again and the joy it brings to the people I interact with every day, I can’t even describe it,” he said.
“This community has supported me and the Chamber has as well: Just the opportunity to meet other chamber members who are really struggling with providing benefits to their employees, and to be able to come alongside that has been really powerful,” he said. “Thank you so much for this opportunity to get involved in the community and be the new guy on the block and yet to have all this exposure and be part of the community, and more importantly to have the community support for my family and our vision here.”
Of the Trumbulls and Anderson’s Tribute Center, Schroeder said, “This business supports not only the entire community, but us in the chamber, and has been around a long time as ambassadors and at events.”
Jack Trumbull, dressed casually in a black jacket, joked, “Apparently my wife didn’t know about this, but before we left she asked, ‘You going to wear that?’
“This really caught us off-guard,” he said. “Thank you all.”
Debbie said, “We moved here in 2006 and didn’t really know anybody, and so it was important for us to start networking and we chose chamber as one of the first ways to network. We joined the Ambassador Program, and so if you have not been going to Coffee Clatters, you should really start going.
“As business owners, I encourage you to look into all the things they have to offer,” she said.
Glover recognized Ferment Brewing Company, Full Sail Brewery, Naked Winery, Mt. Hood Winery, FoxTail Cider, and Divots catering, along with Hood River Hotel.