Sep. 20—The Hanford Chamber of Chamber celebrated the best and brightest-shining companies and individuals in the community that were exemplary during the pandemic.
Last Friday, the Chamber's Distinguished Awards met to commemorate the work of individuals and organizations in the City of Hanford, adding this year a police category to First Responder of the Year and Male and Female categories to Volunteer of the Year.
In 2020, COVID constraints relegated the ceremony to being a "drive-thru" event, but this year, they were back for a more formal, sit-down ceremony. They also switched up the venue from the Civic Auditorium, instead choosing to have it at the Children's Storybook Garden to reflect the Chamber's involvement not only in Downtown Hanford, but the entire city.
According to Chamber CEO Amory Marple, the ceremony recognized people not only affiliated with them, but those who made strides to help the community, especially while dealing with the pandemic and the wildfires.
"It's not just a representation of the Chamber — it's the city as a whole," Marple said. "So like Overland Stockyard isn't a member, but we felt like we needed to recognize anybody, any business in the community. They didn't need to be associated with our organization."
Overland Stockyards took home the Business of the Year award.
Other recipients included:
Nonprofit of the Year- Kings County Action Org. (KCAO)
Citizen of the Year (Female)- Paula Massey
Citizen of the Year (Male)- Johnny Hill
Teen of the Year- Bryn Sztukowski
Volunteer of the Year (Female)- Nancy Silva
Volunteer of the Year (Male)- Jim Castleman
First Responder of the Year (Ambulance)- Matt Gill
First Responder of the Year (Fire)- Cpt. Dennis Springer
First Responder of the Year (Police)- Officer Jean Bidegaray