The Chamber of Hailey and the Wood River Valley honored the community with our Annual Awards Celebration last Thursday night at Mountain Humane.

Penny’s Barn was packed to celebrate some of the local people, business and non-profits that make our valley the special place that it is.

Festivities kicked off with music from the beloved R.L Rousey and an impressive performance from Wood River High School’s Enchante choir.  A local trivia contest rounded-out the entertainment before the awards were presented.

All nominees were chosen by Chamber members and the general public.

The nominees for Outstanding Customer Service were Jane’s Artifacts, Iconoclast Books and Ketchum Kitchens. Jane’s took home the award with the 80 year-old matriarch of the store and the community thanking her dedicated and hard working staff.

The nominees for Community Improvement Award were D.L Evans Bank in Hailey, Gravity Fitness, Mountain Humane and the Silver Creek Hotel. Mountain Humane won and fittingly received their award in their stunning facility.

The nominees for Non-Profit of the Year were the Bellevue Artist Alliance, Caritas Chorale and St. Thomas Playhouse (STP). The community theater organization, STP, was selected as winner and has been enriching our community since 2001 with numerous productions each year including the Main Family Stage, Summer Youth Theater Project and Company B music camps.

The nominees for Business of the Year were Copy and Print, Eye on Sun Valley and The Mint. The rebirthed Hailey hotspot, The Mint, was selected as winner. Offering tasty food and drinks, a fun seasonal patio and live music and dancing upstairs, the new version of The Mint has been a big hit in the South Valley.

The nominees for Outstanding Community Service were former Hailey Fire Chief Craig Aberbach, retired Naval submarine Lieutenant Commander Richard Fife of the Idaho State Fiddlers Championships, The Kiwanis Club for their ongoing work improving playgrounds throughout the valley, and Kelli Young of D.L. Evans Bank. Kelli is also the current president of the Hailey Rotary and an ever-present local volunteer and her named being called as the winner elicited a great ovation from packet crowd.

A special Lifetime Achievement Award went to Bart Lassman, recently-retired Chief of Wood River Valley Fire and Rescue after 34 year of service that began as a volunteer fire fighter. And the Outstanding Public Service Award went to outgoing Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle. Mayor Hammerle is stepping down after serving one term on the City Council followed by two more terms as mayor.

The Chamber would like to congratulate all the worthy nominees and thank everyone who made this fun night happen. We are especially grateful to Chamber board members Richard Stahl and Jenni Riley, as well as Chamber ambassador Kimberly Shurtleff. We’d also like to thank Warfield Distillery and Brewery and 5B Vino Valet for providing tasty adult beverages, while the handsome awards were donated by Northwest Trophy and Awards.

By Mike McKenna

This story originally appeared in the Weekly Sun.

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