Diamond Awards get glitzy to honor top community contributors Nov. 13

October 31, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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The Golf Club at Newcastle is set to literally roll out the red carpet for the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s Diamond Awards Nov. 13.

The annual ceremony that recognizes top community contributors will be an evening affair, emulating a glamorous Hollywood award show, with elements of elegance, formality and fun.

Previous Diamond Awards events have taken place during the day as luncheons.

“We wanted to put together an evening, red-carpet style event to really celebrate and recognize these extraordinary community members in a more visible way,” said Christina Mason, Diamond Awards chairwoman.

Attendees will be greeted as celebrities upon entering the event, complete with a red carpet entrance and a photographer, Mason said. Cocktail and business attire is encouraged.

The first 125 people at the event will receive a swag bag with gifts from sponsors, and the chamber will also award door prizes.

There are six Diamond Awards recognizing outstanding community members. Winners will be named in the business, community leadership, customer service, education, youth and inspiration categories.

The recipient of a Diamond Award is chosen based on his or her contribution to the community of the greater Newcastle area. The recipients demonstrate dedication, integrity and caring, with a passion for doing what needs to be done.

The 11-member Newcastle Chamber of Commerce board narrowed each category to two nominees and voted for each winner. Winners will be announced at the event, each receiving a diamond-shaped award. Those who come in second will receive a plaque.

Mason said it was difficult for the board to narrow the nominees, given the great impact each one of them makes on Newcastle.

“The Diamond Awards are really about these quiet, unassuming heroes of our community who are giving back far beyond basic expectations,” she said.

This year, the chamber announced that the inspiration award will be renamed the Dennis Yarnell Inspiration Award.

Yarnell, the popular owner of the Newcastle Shell station, died Feb. 2. He began working at the station in 2000 and purchased it from its previous owner in March 2007.

The first award will be presented to Yarnell’s wife Elizabeth Widseth and his son Trevor Yarnell.

“Dennis was the kind of guy who didn’t sit around and talk about doing things — he just went out and did them,” Widseth said in a statement. “This award is such an incredible honor and tribute to Dennis’ life.”

The board felt it was important to recognize Yarnell, 33, who was a Chamber member, and a beloved part of the community, Mason said.

“We wanted a personal way to bring about celebration of someone who treated everyone as family neighbor,” she said. “That’s exactly what Dennis did every day. He had such an impact.”

Tickets to the event are $35 and are available online or at the door the night of the event. The evening is not exclusive to chamber members or nominees, Mason said. She hopes the entire community will attend to honor the nominees.

“There are names that everyone knows on that nominee list,” she said. “Be there to show support and applaud. It is really an important demonstration of thanks and appreciation for all the work that they’re doing.”


If you go

2013 Diamond Awards

  • 6:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 13
  •  The Golf Club at Newcastle
  •  15500 Six Penny Lane
  •  Tickets are $35. Buy them at www.newcastle-chamber.org



The Dennis Yarnell Inspiration Award

  • Elizabeth Widseth and Trevor Yarnell

Community Leadership

  • Diane Lewis
  • Teresa Platin
  • Jim Price
  • Linda Stemler

Customer Service

  • Sarah Backman
  • Elda Barajas-Ross
  • Kat Howell
  • Dan Letinsky
  • Akina Moscinski


  • Lea Lo
  • Pam Teal
  • Steve Valach


  • Jon Fortescue
  • Madeline Dalton


  • Coal Creek Family YMCA
  • Newcastle News/ Christina Corrales-Toy
  • Regency Newcastle/ Paul Reynolds
  • Sweet Decadence/ Sandra Wixon
  • Zoëyogurt Newcastle/ Tom and Donna Hudson
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