Community honors service

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Steve Cook presents Dorothy Watson with the Community Service Award March 9 at the Farmer Merchant Recognition Banquet. REBECCA HARKNESS/Special to The Jefferson Star

Ginger Crystal Brown presents Andrea Mortz with the Rigby Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Award March 9. REBECCA HARKNESS/Special to The Jefferson Star

Rigby Police Chief Sam Tower presents Officer Chris Scott with the Officer of the Year Award March 9 at Rigby Middle School. REBECCA HARKNESS/Special to The Jefferson Star

VFW Veteran of the Year Lee Staggs, center, is the Veteran of the Year for 2017. Also pictured are Commander Dan Boomgaarden, left, and Ron Scott, right. REBECCA HARKNESS/Special to The Jefferson Star

The Farmer-Merchant Recognition Banquet continued its long tradition of honoring those who serve with its March 9 event.

Fifteen different awards were given out, while attendees ate, visited or looked at silent auction items. The following community members were recognized for their work and service:

Rigby Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Award – Andrea Mortz and Logan Keller

The chamber decided after looking at applications to award two students with a $500 scholarship award.

Mortz is a 3.9 GPA high honors student who has already completed her Associates Degree at Rigby High School. She has been accepted by BYU and the University of Idaho into their honors programs. She plans to study International Relations and work toward a Master’s Degree.

Keller has achieved the honor roll for all three trimesters. He plans to attend Boise State University where he will study Meteorology. He hopes to work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help design better warning system. He earned a certificate of appreciation for community involvement from the Rigby Police Department.

Teacher of the Year – Lori Ricks

Ricks is a 9th grade English teacher. Presenter Leon Clark said that Ricks helps out whenever she can.

“Lori was chosen as our teacher of the year because she goes way above the call of duty,” he said.

She also helps Hispanic students in their studies so they can participate in extracurricular activities

Junior Student of the Year – Danen Pruitt

Pruitt is the son of Doug and Mitzi Pruitt. Clark said he is a leader in the band program and has developed a great rapport with his peers.

“He has a friendly demeanor that makes other students want to follow him,” Clark said.

Senior Student of the Year – Olivia Gneiting

Gneiting is the daughter of James and Julie Gneiting. Clark said that she excels both in the classroom and on the track. Earning a 4.0 GPA and a state title in the high jump.

“Olivia epitomizes the student-athlete and I wish more students were like her,” he said.

City of Rigby Employee of the Year – Scott Humpherys

Rigby Mayor Jason Richardson said that Humpherys tackles many challenges with the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Humpherys does what is required of him without supervision and makes sure that the system is working, as he knows his job is important.

Rigby Police Department Officer of the Year – Officer Chris Scott

Rigby Police Chief Sam Tower said that Officer Scott, since joining the department in 2015, has demonstrated continuous concern for doing a good job and doing things the right way.

“I know he’s always weighing out the options and wants to make the best choice for the community,” he said.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Year – Deputy John Dunn

Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said that Dunn is a dedicated and valuable employee.

“Deputy Dunn is well versed in his duties. He is professional and courteous at all times,” Anderson said.

Dunn has worked for the sheriff’s office since 2011.

Central Fire District Firefighter of the Year – Mike Riel

Riel has been with the fire district since 2010. He serves as both a firefighter and EMT. He also is Rigby Station’s “go to guy” for information from training and for engineering trucks during any structure fire.

“He is an excellent EMT and is usually a strong back that we can count on when the load is heavy,” Chief Bryan Grover wrote.

Jefferson County Farm Bureau Woman of the Year – Sue Walker

Walker is currently the Jefferson County 4-H coordinator, but has a long history with agriculture. She has spent her life on farms and has been involved in her family’s ranch, raising many animals.

“She is well deserving of this award. She has been a great influence for all our 4-H children,” said presenter Doris Mortimer.

VFW Post 1004 Veteran of the Year – Lee Staggs

Staggs is a World War II veteran, who was assigned to the 71st Infantry Division under General George S. Patton’s 3rd Army, in Europe. He earned the rank of Private First Class and was discharged from the Army in 1947. He served as VFW Post 1004 quartermaster for 12 years, from 1994 to 2006.

“Lee won’t say it, but he is a great hero,” said VFW Commander Dan Boomgaarden.

Jefferson Soil and Water District Conservation Farmer of the Year – Mike Cope

Cope was born and raised in Monteview, where he farms the same land his grandfather homesteaded in the 1920s. Presenter Pat Hendren said that Cope is always open to new ideas and thrifty with time, materials and resources.

“He is careful in his use of all things and strives to be a consecution farmer,” Hendren said.

Farmer of the Year Award – Roger Clark

Clark is a fourth generation farmer in Menan and he and his sons grow alfalfa, wheat, barley, and run a cow and calf operation. He has served with the Idaho Hay Association, Valley Wide Cooperative, Jefferson County Farm Service Agency, District 1 Snake River Flood Control Committee and on irrigation boards.

“He likes to say he is always having fun and he is very optimistic about the future of farming,” said presenter Extension Agent Joseph Sagers.

Community Service Award – Dorothy Watson

Watson has served the Rigby Parks and Rodeo department as part of the concession “team” for the last eight years.

Presenter, and Parks and Rodeo director, Steve Cook said that through her efforts the concessions are always staffed, and she and her husband Ed donate their time to make sure everything is cleaned up after an event.

“Through her efforts and the efforts of her friends and family, the concessions this year generated $10,000 for the parks and rodeo association, all done with volunteer help,” he said.

Business of the Year Award — Idaho Drug

Idaho Drug is owned and operated by Ty Swenson and Shane Permann.

The business last year completed an extensive renovation including a remodeling of its pharmacy and old-fashioned soda fountain. It has served customers on Main Street in Rigby since 1947. Permann has been with Idaho Drug for 12 years and Swenson for 10 years.

Community Appreciation Award – Abbott’s Variety and Craft; King’s Variety

Rigby Chamber President Teresa Anderson presented awards to both Abbott’s and King’s for years of serving the City of Rigby.

Steve Abbott accepted the award for the store and his father Dean Abbott. The store location was sold after serving Rigby for 40 years.

Wendy Mullins accepted the award for King’s. The store has been open since 1990.

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