The 2014 Running Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Installation and Recognition Dinner has come and gone but the delicious prime rib dinner, catered by Blondie’s restaurant in Arrowbear, and the awards ceremony will be remembered for a long time.
Each year the chamber of commerce honors people who have gone beyond the call of duty to help the chamber with community events or programs that enrich the lives of local residents as well as businesses. This year’s event was especially memorable due to the nature of some of the awards and the people who received them.
The installation dinner is always a great evening and the chance to look back on the year and access the events the chamber has held and supported and to congratulate certain individuals or businesses that deserve a big “thank you” and pat on the back.
This year the Business of the Year went to G&D Signs which is owned and operated by Debbie Harper. She has been an enormous asset to the community and has helped the chamber publicize so many of the events this year. This talented artist has been worth her weight in gold (so to speak) as far as helping publicize events so she was so deserving of this honor.
Rick and Pam Bennett were other honorees. This couple attended many (and I do mean many) of the summer “farmer’s markets” which were held from May through September. They volunteered hours to come and be involved and help answer questions from visitors and be involved in this very successful endeavor. We owe them a lot so they truly deserved the kudos they received.
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly attended the event to present a special state recognition to local mountainwide AYSO founders and continuing program organizers Sandy and Larry Caplinger. The framed award was a surprise for the couple who have continued to be so involved with the local soccer program that literally has benefitted thousands of children and their families throughout the years since it began in the 1980s. Congratulations Sandy and Larry!
Longtime Running Springs firefighter and Fire Chief Tony Grabow received an award thanking him for his years of service to the community he loves. Tony and his family have residents of Running Springs for decades and his in-laws, Gladys and Lincoln Tanaka owned Genii’s Candles shop for many, many years. (That site is now Jensen’s Minute Mart on Hilltop Blvd.) For years and years Lincoln was an active member of the Arrowbear Lions Club so Tony’s dedication to the community he loves, as a firefighter and fire chief, is a perfect example of the man he is and we appreciate all the effort and time he has given to the residents of the local mountain community.
Sadly,a “last minute” honor went to our great friend, Steve Cannata, who passed away only a few days before the chamber celebration. Steve was a huge supporter of the Arrowbear Lions Club and was so beloved in the community. His sudden death just about 10 days ago was a blow, not only to his family and friends, but to the entire community who honored and loved him so much. His memorial service was held at Hootman Center just a day before the chamber installation. Although the passing of our good friend was certainly still “present” in everyone’s minds the center was gaily decorated, the seats were filled with people laughing and enjoying the evening and it was a huge success.
Thank you to all the people involved with this annual event. It is one of those events that is always a huge celebration of the chamber’s work in the local communities throughout the year and this year’s exciting event was top-notch.