And the 2014 Diamond Awards go to…

December 4, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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By Greg Farrar Diamond Award winners for 2014 are (from left) Chris Ware, Margaret Strong, Christina Corrales-Toy, Jaime Greene, David Vaisar, Mary Elworth, the Coal Creek YMCA represented by Sara Biancofiori and David Harris.

By Greg Farrar
Diamond Award winners for 2014 are (from left) Chris Ware, Margaret Strong, Christina Corrales-Toy, Jaime Greene, David Vaisar, Mary Elworth, the Coal Creek YMCA represented by Sara Biancofiori and David Harris.

Whether it’s his suave British accent, his kind, carefree attitude or the shoulder-length hair, something about David Harris just says “rock star.”

The man behind the music at festivals across the Eastside, including Newcastle’s Concerts in the Park and Newcastle Days, knows how to put on a show, and he was recognized for it with the top honor at the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Diamond Awards ceremony.

Newcastle Mayor Steve Buri presented Harris with the Mayor’s Award on Nov. 20 in a glitzy evening affair at The Golf Club at Newcastle. Buri described Harris as a person that “makes things happen,” and thanked him for managing the sound of and helping bring bands to Newcastle’s community events.

“He’s a huge asset to everything we’ve done over the last 10 years to build a sense of community with Lake Boren Park as the center,” Buri said.

The Mayor’s Award is intended for a person who consistently volunteers his or her time and resources to make a positive difference in the Newcastle community, said Doug Kunkel, a Newcastle Chamber board member.

Harris’ role in working both behind the scenes and at the sound controls of community events made him an easy choice, Kunkel added.

“David brings an abundance of experience and enthusiasm to the table when helping organize community events,” he said. “His past experience as the chairman of the planning committee for the very large Issaquah Salmon Days festival makes him an expert resource for us to turn to for advice and ideas, which he’s happy to share.”

In a short acceptance speech, Harris, who frequents the community to visit good friend Newcastle resident and Yes drummer Alan White, expressed his admiration for the city.

“I’ve always had a great passion for Newcastle,” Harris said. “This is a really great community.”

Harris wasn’t the only one that walked away with a diamond-shaped trophy; the chamber handed out awards in six other categories.

It was a big night for the Coal Creek Family YMCA, whose staff members won two awards.

?Jaime Greene, the Y’s director of Healthy Living and Community Engagement, walked away with the Dennis Yarnell Inspiration Award, while the entire Y staff won the Customer Service Award.

Newcastle resident Chris Ware, owner of Newport Hills’ Dolce Vita Salon and Nail Spa, won the Business Award, and Margaret Strong, a teacher at Hazelwood Elementary School, won the Education Award.

There were co-winners in the Youth Award category, as both Newcastle residents David Vaisar, an Eagle Scout who helped improve the city’s trails, and Mary Elworth, an active library volunteer and a member of Newcastle’s Teen Leadership Board, took home trophies.

Newcastle News reporter Christina Corrales-Toy also won the Community Leadership Award.

The Newcastle Diamond Awards is an annual ceremony that recognizes community members who do good things in the greater Newcastle area. The recipient of a Diamond Award is chosen based on his or her contribution to the community.

Winners and nominees demonstrate dedication, integrity and caring, with a passion for doing what needs to be done.

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