The right place
While several individuals and businesses were honored for their contributions to Washington over the last year, many of the remarks during the Washington Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Washington, and Washington Economic Development Group annual dinner focused on the future.
The keynote speakers of the event were Washington’s 175th anniversary co-chairs Diane Gallagher and Millie Youngquist. The presentation began with a video of many residents attempting to pronounce the Latin word for a 175th Anniversary — either septaquintaquinquecentenia or quinseptumcentennial. The two spoke about what the community could expect during the weeklong celebration that is scheduled for June 1 through 8. June 1 is scheduled to be “On the Move” day, which honors anything transportation-related. June 2 will celebrate Washington’s history. June 3 will honor business and industry. June 4 will showcase Washington arts and crafts. June 5 is a celebration of agriculture. June 6 will promote health and fitness. June 7 is “Young at Heart” day and will include the annual running of Ridiculous Day. June 8 will bring it all together with an all American celebration. The presentation ended with a video of Youngquist performing at the 150th anniversary celebration.
“Imagine crossing miles of prairie and hundreds of creeks and streams on foot – living outdoors for weeks, then eventually arriving at this particular place and stopping here,” said Youngquist, reading from a special commemorative magazine for the 175th anniversary. “It seems like the right place to stop; 175 years later, over 7,000 people and many more whose time has passed agree – Washington, Iowa, is the right place.”
Main Street Washington director Sarah Sadrakula said that over the past year the program has accomplished much. She said that the fifth Washington Incentive Fund had been released earlier in March and the total program has hit the $5 million investment mark in downtown Washington. During the presentation, the Main Street Washington board recognized former president Karen Kuhlman. The outstanding volunteer of the year award this year went to Jean Wehr. The Business Success Story of the Year award went to Powercom. The Business Partner of the Year award went to Bodywrx Fitness Center. The Best Building Renovation of the Year award went to Jeff Batterson and the Washington Depot. A special Right Foot award went to former Main Street Washington director Amy Vetter.
Washington Chamber of Commerce director Michelle Redlinger said the chamber is known as the unofficial cheerleaders of Washington. The chamber also recognized former president Cheryl Kurtz.
“We exert all possible force and everything we can muster to support your visions and to drive growth, enterprise, innovation and tourism for the community,” Redlinger said.
The Business of the Year award went to the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort. The Community Service award went to Dean Kurtz. The Citizen of the Year went to Max Cousins.
Washington Economic Development Group (WEDG) director Ed Raber spoke of the coming industrial park, the coming apartment complex and several new members of the WEDG board of directors. He honored outgoing president Mike Jorgensen.
The Harvey Holden Special Service award went to Modine Manufacturing.