Chamber honors top volunteers at annual community awards

June 4, 2013

By Peter Clark

By GREG FARRAR Cecilia Gambill, owner of Illuminate Contracting LLC, thanks the crowd with a smile as she is called to the podium to receive the Citizen of the Year award sponsored by the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, during the 34th annual Community Awards Banquet held May 30 at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Cecilia Gambill, owner of Illuminate Contracting LLC, thanks the crowd with a smile as she is called to the podium to receive the Citizen of the Year award sponsored by the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, during the 34th annual Community Awards Banquet held May 30 at the Hilton Garden Inn. By Greg Farrar

In a night of honoring local volunteers, the city handed out top recognition at the 34th annual community awards. Cecilia Gambill was named Citizen of the Year and Debbie Berto was named to the Issaquah Hall of Fame.

Those awards finished out the May 30 banquet, held at the Hilton Garden Inn and sponsored by the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber CEO Matt Bott presented the award to Gambill, co-owner of Illuminate Contracting. Bott celebrated her hours of volunteering and her enthusiasm. Gambill has been in the community for three years after moving to Issaquah from Florida.

“She’s always there with a smile and a charismatic can-do attitude,” he said when introducing her.

By Greg Farrar Debbie Berto, publisher of The Issaquah Press, mentions Pickering Barn and the fish hatchery as two institutions her newspapers have helped the community preserve.

Debbie Berto, publisher of The Issaquah Press, mentions Pickering Barn and the fish hatchery as two institutions her newspapers have helped the community preserve. By Greg Farrar

“It’s a real honor,” Gambill said. “Of course, I’m still acclimating to the weather.”

She said she was overjoyed to be named the Citizen of the Year and did not see the award coming. She attended the dinner just to support the chamber’s event.

“I cannot tell you how it feels,” she said after the banquet. “I did not expect it at all. I love this community. It is becoming my home.”

Debbie Berto, publisher of The Issaquah Press, was the recipient of the final award of the evening with her induction into the Hall of Fame. With her hands on her cheeks in shock, the whole room stood in applause as she accepted the honor.

“It’s amazing what you get done in 40 years,” she said upon taking the podium regarding her long service with the newspaper. “I’ve had the privilege to be with The Issaquah Press and to work with amazing colleagues throughout the years.”

She spoke about her continued relationship over the years with the city and how, despite the occasional disagreement, she felt honored to receive the designation.

“I have just been privileged in a wonderful role to help make a difference,” she said. “It’s huge to think that I will have my picture in City Hall.”

Mayor Ava Frisinger announced the annual award that is chosen by her office and the council president. In her introduction, she praised Berto for her service to the community, both professionally as well as in her volunteering capacity through organizations like the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah.

“Our criteria for this award is inspiration, service, leadership, activity and length of service,” Frisinger said. “It is always right to give people thanks for the service they give.”

Berto spoke with appreciation to the mayor, the chamber and to the community at large for the unexpected recognition.

“So many have had this award before me, and I’m so humbled by them and by this honor,” she said.

 

Bookmark and Share
Other Stories of Interest: , , , ,

Comments

Got something to say?

Before you comment, please note:

  • These comments are moderated.
  • Comments should be relevant to the topic at hand and contribute to its discussion.
  • Personal attacks and/or excessive profanity will not be tolerated and such comments will not be approved.
  • This is not your personal chat room or forum, so please stay on topic.