Chamber honors citizens at Gala

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The Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce honored the Community Award winners and installed its new Board members at its 21st annual Board Installation and Community Awards Gala on Saturday, January 28, in the Holiday Bay Room at the Lodge. More than 130 guests attended.

This year’s Gala included a sit-down dinner, silent auction, presentation of community awards and installation of new Chamber Board of Directors. The host of the evening was emcee extraordinaire Dave McCrory.

Several dignitaries were in attendance to honor the award winners, They include District Representative Debbie Herrera from Senator Jeff Stone’s office, State Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, Riverside County 1st District Supervisor Kevin Jefferies, Tricia Almiron, Legislative Assistant to Supervisor Kevin Jefferies, Mayor Dawn Haggerty, Mayor Pro-Tem Vicki Warren, Canyon Lake Council members Jordan Ehrendranz, Larry Green and Randy Bonner and Canyon Lake POA Board of Directors Eric Spitzer, Dale Welty and Paul Queen.

The five Community Award winners were presented with a trophy from the Chamber of Commerce and Proclomations from U.S. Congressman Ken Calvert, Senator Jeff Stone, State Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez and Riverside County 1st District Supervisor Kevin Jefferies.

The Citizen of the Year Award was sponsored by Eric an Michelle Spitzer and awarded to Donna Ritchie. This award is for an individual who has enhanced the quality of life in Canyon Lake through outstanding community involvement.

The Chamber says, “Donna Ritchie and her family moved to this “Little Bit of Paradise” in 2013 and Donna immediately fell in live with Canyon Lake. Her passion and love for our community has been portrayed through her amazing photographs and numerous articles which highlight all the amazing attributes of Canyon Lake. She keeps thousands in the community informed on activities and information through the two community Facebook pages she monitors –  the Canyon Lake Community page and Canyon Lake Crime and Safety Alerts. She is also the new Editor of The Friday Flyer. The 24/7 news cycle never stops and we’re not sure Donna ever sleeps. With her dedication and her big heart she is a great asset to our community and we are proud to present her with this year’s Citizen of the Year Community Award.”

The Volunteer of the Year Award was sponsored by CR&R Waste Services and presented to Shawan Bowen. This award is for an individual who has made a significant difference to the community through volunteerism.

The Chamber says, “Shawna Bowen has been a Canyon Lake resident for 7 years. She had noticed a little over three years ago that there were clubs for men, women, children and specific organizations but wanted a club that was more family oriented. Shawna’s pride in Canyon Lake inspired her to begin the non-profit organization Canyon Lake Family Matters, a club for all residents in Canyon Lake, not just families. In Shawna’s opinion the club really keeps the families of Canyon Lake in mind by bringing something new to the table for families to enjoy on more than a monthly basis. She tirelessly has been on the forefront of many, if not all of the 40 plus activities Family Matters has hosted in the last year. We are proud to present Shawna with this year’s Volunteer of the Year Award.

The Youth of the Year Award was sponsored by Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant and presented to Jordyn Strange. This award recognizes a Canyon Lake student who has exhibited academic excellence while being involved in the community and participating in school activities.

The Chamber says, “Described as an amazing youth by her nominee, Youth of the Year Jordyn Strange is a senior at Temescal Canyon High School. She has been involved in the Associated Student Body with cabinet leadership experience. She is on the Varsity Basketball and Volleyball teams. She has been a Student of the Month Scholarship winner and a member of the Interact Club; however, the one activity that we felt set her apart from the others, was her participation in the Rotary Youth Leadership program. RYL is an organization which teaches our youth: fundamentals of leadership, ethics of positive leadership, qualities of a servant leader, importance of communication skills in effective leadership, conflict management and problem solving, building self-esteem and self confidence, elements of community and global citizenship. We are proud to present Jordyn with this year’s Youth of the Year Award.”

The Organization of the Year Award was sponsored by Southern California Edison and presented to the Bassmasters Club. This award is for a nonprofit organization whose programs have made a positive impact on the community.

The Chamber says, “The Canyon Lake Bassmasters Organization is one of the oldest clubs in Canyon Lake, more than 28 years. This organization serves and enhances our community in many ways, promoting our lake through fishing and conservation. The purpose of this club is to promote good sportsmanship and camaraderie among the dedicated and beginning bass anglers of Canyon Lake. Annually, the group sponsors their big event – the Kid’s Fishing Derby with hundreds of kids and families participating. During the event Bassmasters provides free food to all attendees and all kids go home with a nice prize. Bassmasters hosts a Taco Booth during Fiesta Days and they also participate in many other events for the Fishing League Worldwide. We are proud to present Canyon Lake Bassmasters with this year’s Organization of the Year Award.

The Business of the Year Award was sponsored by Jordan and Jennie Ehrenkranz and presented to Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant. This award is for a Chamber member that provides exemplary customer service and superior products while supporting the Canyon Lake business community.

The Chamber says, ” Pepe’s has been proudly serving the community for over 35 years. During that time they have supported many of our local clubs and schools and many other organizations in between. Over the last couple of years, Pepe’s has proudly sponsored the Canyon Lake Youth of the Year as well as the Parade of Frights, Chamber Golf Tournaments, Storm Tailgate parties and helped with Oktoberfest.

Pepe’s has been a supporter of, to name a few:  Canyon Lake Women’s Club Fashion Show, Elsinore High School Dance Team, Bassmasters Kids Fishing Derby, Miss Canyon Lake Scholarship Fund, Canyon Lake Car Club,  Canyon Lake Middle School Family Dinner Night, Temescal Canyon High School Baseball Team, Lion’s Club, Look at Me Learn Playground Equipment Fundraiser, Family Matters Club, Canyon Lake Little League and the Canyon Lake Softball League.

Pepe’s has also been involved in raising funds for the Teryx Girls – Canyon Lake Locals Sara Price and Erica Sacks so that they could race in Morocco, and in 2016 co-hosted a fundraiser with the Canyon Lake Chapter of the Trusted Business Partners for our very own Canyon Laker Amy Martinez and raised over $13,000.00 which went towards the purchase of her new hands. We are proud to present this year’s Business of the Year Award to Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant.”

Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries installed the new Chamber Board of Directors. Chamber President Jim Randle, Secretary Debby Gagnon, Treasurer Jennie Ehrenkranz and Directors Dolores Badillo, Mike Irvin, Jeanne O’Dell, Matthew Svendsen, Ria Riley and Barry Walker took the Oath of Office.

Jim Randal presented Ria Riley of the Sports Stop Pub & Grill and Jack Gray of Platinum Plumbing with the President’s Award. The President’s Award is an award given by the Chamber President to show appreciate for the work the recipient has done throughout the year.

The evening concluded with the announcement of the 24 raffle prize winners and the table centerpiece winners.

The Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce is an association of businesses and individuals organized to encourage a strong local economy and quality of life by promoting and advancing the community, civic, cultural and educational development of the Canyon Lake area while providing a valuable forum for issues affecting local commerce and the general well-being of the community. For more information, contact Chamber Executive Director Alison Burrafato at 951-244-6124.

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Donna Ritchie