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Stevenson, OLeary earn top chamber honors

by:  Ardis Stevenson and Chuck O'Leary were honored Wednesday evening at the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner for their civic contributions.

Some of the greatest contributors to this community were honored at the 2011 Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet Wednesday night.

Ardis Stevenson was given the Bob Bigelow Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chuck O'Leary was the recipient of the Community Leader of the Year Award.

A native of Illinois, Stevenson has lived in Lake Oswego for more than 50 years, and she was praised by presenter Peter Glazer for the mark she has made on this community.

'Her list of accomplishments in our community is too long to include everything,' Glazer said.

Some of Stevenson's high points include serving on the Lake Oswego Planning Commission, the Lake Oswego School District Budget Committee, the LOSD Curriculum Committee, and Northwest Housing Alternatives. Stevenson has worked for the League of Women Voters for many years, including serving as president.

In her professional life Stevenson was public affairs director for Clackamas County, and she also served a stint as county clerk.

In recent years Stevenson has made an outstanding contribution to Lake Oswego senior citizens, including serving as chair of the advisory board of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center. She is a longtime columnist for the Lake Oswego Review, and she is the author of the book 'Facing Age, Finding Answers - Stories for Positive Aging.'

Before bringing Stevenson up to receive her honor, Glazer told the audience, 'If you don't know who I am talking about by now, there's a good chance you are under the age of 35 and you don't think you'll ever be middle-aged.'

Bob Bigelow was the publisher of the Lake Oswego Review until his death in 2000.

O'Leary was praised for epitomizing what community leadership is all about.

'Chuck has a unique skill set,' said his long-time friend Mark Birge. 'He can hear and understand people who have different perspectives. Chuck clearly deserves this award because he gets a lot of things done.'

Although he has a busy professional life with Bankers Investment Services, O'Leary has had a remarkable number of community activities, ranging from promoting business in Lake Grove to making sure the lights shine at the Holiday Tree Lighting.

'Chuck is the kind of guy who makes time in an amazing number of areas,' said Lake Oswego School Superintendent Bill Korach, a close associate on many community projects and programs. 'He's willing to do the hard work behind the scenes and he doesn't seek the limelight.

'Chuck is a great selection for this honor because he does so much for so many.'

O'Leary's list of activities include the chamber of commerce, Lake Oswego Arts Council, Lakewood Center for the Arts, Keep Lake Oswego Great, plus many youth activities like swim club, Little League and Cub Scouts.

Birge noted, 'Chuck is a great dad, too. He and his wife Andi have done a marvelous job of raising their children Devon and Kevin.'

Other persons honored for their outstanding contributions to the community were:

* Denton Large Business of the Year - New Seasons Market.

* Denton Small Business of the Year - The Oilerie.

* Chamber Champion Award - Michele Baker, Banner Bank.

* Rookie of the Year - Brooke Gracey, Ironstone Bank.

* Networker of the Year - Pastor Keith Dickerson, Hope Community Church.

* Headlee Beautification Award - Bank of the West.

This annual event was held at Lake Oswego Country Club. Besides the honoring of leading citizens, a silent auction was held as a major fundraiser for the chamber.