Diamond Awards honor community

December 1, 2011

By Christina Lords

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Members of the Newcastle community who contribute time, energy and service to make the city a better place to live were recognized at the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s Diamond Awards on Nov. 10.

Karin Blakley, Diamond Award emcee and chamber board member, said recipients in the event’s youth, education, business, community service and mayor’s choice categories exemplify service and community pride that make Newcastle a great place to call home and do business.

Kent Coburn and Roland Deex were honored with a Diamond Award in the youth category.

Valley Medical Center representatives accept the Diamond Award for the business category. Photos by Christina Lords

Coburn has volunteered at Newcastle Days, and for Arbor Day and various Weed Warrior events since 2008. He plays in Hazen High School’s jazz band and played at Newcastle’s Earth Day event in 2011.

Deex, a Liberty High School student, is a member of the honor society and tutors students before school, and he mentors a Newcastle boy with autism each week through the Athletes for Kids buddy program. During Deex’s Eagle Scout project, he organized service projects to benefit the East May Creek Trail.

Cathy Dean, a first-grade teacher at Hazelwood Elementary School, was awarded the education award for her ability to build good relationships with students that enable them to achieve a strong educational foundation.

Valley Medical Center was honored in the business category. The medical center was recognized for stepping up during tough economic times to become the main sponsor of Newcastle Days.

Newcastle resident Trina Sooy was selected for an award in the community service category for her volunteer work through the Coal Creek YMCA and her efforts as a healthy living advocate in the community.

Mayor John Dulcich presented Mutual Materials with a special recognition award for the company’s longtime ties to the community. The company started more than 100 years ago, but shut down its Newcastle site this year due to the sluggish economy.

The company is studying the area to determine options for redevelopment.

“I’d like to thank them for their past presence in this community, their current presence … and also their future,” Dulcich said. “It’s a legacy that they’re going to leave to this community as they chose to redevelop the site. They’ve made a commitment to the city that whether they’re involved or not as development goes forward, they want it to be something their family would be proud of.”

Newcastle has received several recent distinctions, including the city’s selection as the 18th best place to live in the United States by Money magazine this year, and the awards are a time to appreciate the people and businesses that make those distinctions possible, Blakley said.

“We, too, realize what a remarkable community this is,” she said. “We’re really an engaged, wonderful community, and it’s very important to recognized the importance of the volunteers here.”

About 75 people turned out for the eighth annual event at The Golf Club at Newcastle. The chamber collects nominations from the public for the awards each fall.

“We get to recognize volunteers, and that’s really helped build the city,” Dulcich said. “It separates us from other cities, because we feel we’re the best here and will continue to be moving forward.”

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