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State of the Community to honor region’s great

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Tonight’s State of the Community dinner has been a tradition since 1997. “The intent from the very beginning was to provide an opportunity similar to the president’s State of the Union address where the mayor of Auburn, the supervisor from our local District 3 of Placer County and the president of the chamber each provide a brief statement on the state of the Auburn community,” said Bruce Cosgrove, Auburn Chamber of Commerce CEO. “We can celebrate our accomplishments, acknowledge the challenges we have ahead of us and, through this, build the community pride and spirit that is so necessary to accomplish objectives for our community. “The evening also provides an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments and talents that citizens of this community generously give,” he added. The idea for the dinner came from Steve Snyder, owner of Gold Rush Chevrolet, who was president of the Auburn chamber at the time. “He brought the idea to us from the Bay Area. … It was so successful there, he thought it would be a great thing to do here,” Cosgrove said. “He’s been a big part of the community and the chamber for many years and this was his baby.” Snyder had watched the event catch fire in Sunnyvale and San Rafael. “When we finally moved to Auburn, we thought we’d try it and the idea was well received,” he said. “In Auburn, the original intent was to allow the politicians to be able to speak, without running for election, to inform people of what they’ve accomplished and what they’re trying to accomplish.” The growth of the awards part of the ceremony has been a source of satisfaction to Snyder, too. The city and county each honor an employee of the year, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital recognizes a Healthcare Award winner, the chamber presents an award to the Business of the Year. There are also the Friend of Recreation and Friend of Agriculture as well as Cultural and Education awards. “The Journal presents the McCann award, the most prestigious of the awards, which acknowledges the individual who exemplifies the spirit of Mr. Auburn (Vernon Gould McCann), always putting community first,” Cosgrove said. New this year, the Community 1st Award honors an individual, organization or business that continually demonstrates putting the community first. Honorees receive a plaque and a medal attached to a red, white and blue ribbon. “It has the logo of the event, which Auburn resident Bud Pisarek created many years ago,” Cosgrove said. “It started at the fairgrounds for the first couple of years,” Cosgrove said. “We then moved to The Ridge, which is a wonderful facility and great place for the State of the Community. We moved it (back to the fairgrounds) as a result of the economy. We needed to reduce costs and make it more affordable for everyone to attend.” In the process something unexpected happened. “It was a return to community,” Cosgrove said. “It wasn’t our intent, because it was a financially driven intention. But, by moving back to fairgrounds, it engaged community volunteers, who set up tables and chairs, decorated the interior of the building and set up the centerpieces. It involved the service clubs coming out with their membership and preparing the food and everything related to food service.” That includes Job’s Daughters, who provide food and coffee service and bus the tables. The Lions Club prepares the meal and handles the cleanup. “As a result, the State of the Community is actually the community putting it on,” Cosgrove said. “It’s evident who’s cooking the meal, who’s serving, who’s busing. That community pride is in the room. Job’s Daughters are daughters or granddaughters of so many people in the room. The Lions are friends and fellow business owners in there cooking and washing dishes.” Gloria Young can be reached at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com ---------------------------------- Honorees: McCann Award – Cheryl Maki Education Award – Douglas Peterson Cultural Award – April Maynard Friend of Agriculture – Christine Turner Business of the Year – Old Town Pizza/Reese Browning City Employee of the Year – Lee Thorpe, public works supervisor County Employee of the Year – Rick Buckman, Veterans Services officer Healthcare Award – Dr. Bill Kirby Friend of Recreation – Eric Peach Community 1st Award – Auburn Community Cancer Endowment Fund ---------------------------------- Know and Go What: Auburn State of the Community Dinner When: 6 p.m. Friday, May 7 Where: Sierra Building, Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High St., Auburn Information: Call (530) 885-5616