Top citizens honored at Diamond Awards

November 12, 2008

By Jim Feehan

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NEW — 1:47 p.m. November 12, 2008

A pioneer, a tireless advocate for the Boy Scouts and a high school student who volunteers at a soup kitchen in Seattle were among the Diamond Award recipients announced today.

Milt Swanson, born and raised in Newcastle 90 years ago, retired from working in the coalmines in 1962. A founder of the Historical Society of Newcastle, Swanson has not missed an opportunity to educate city officials, citizens and school children about the coal mining days of Newcastle. Swanson won the Senior Award.

Bill Burris, leader of the Newcastle Boy Scout troop, was given the Mayor’s Award.

“Bill gives of his time, not wanting the accolades that come with it,” said Newcastle Mayor Ben Varon.

Paul Williams, an 18-year-old student at Newport High School, received the Youth Award for volunteering at the soup kitchen at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Seattle. His aptitude for community service led him to volunteer to coach soccer at Newcastle Elementary School.

Two people were given the Community Service Award — Peggy Price, who worked to complete the Terrace Trails for the Newcastle Trails Association, and John Jensen, who was instrumental in growing the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce and for organizing candidate forums.

Lynn Bisset, a PTA member at Newcastle Elementary, and Jana Dalpez, an orchestra teacher at Maywood Middle School and Liberty High School, won the Education Award.

The Business Award was given to Dave Franklin, Jackie Maples and Damu Maples, the owners of the Newcastle Fruit Stand.

“The fruit stand is such an asset to our community,” said Linda Stemler, president of the chamber of commerce.

About 75 people attended the awards ceremony at the St. Andrews Ballroom of The Golf Club at Newcastle.

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