Patti Milne and Anthony Veliz get top honors for Woodburn's 2014 Distinguished Service Awards

by: LINDSAY KEEFER - Patti Milne (left), having just received the honor of being named Senior First Citizen, and her daughter Laura Dix (right) congratulate Janice Webb after her family received a Special Award for the Distinguished Service Awards.This year’s Distinguished Service Awards, presented by the Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce, introduced a new category and honored some familiar faces.

The awards, which were announced at the chamber’s Greeters program at City Hall Friday morning, are: Patti Milne, Senior First Citizen; Anthony Veliz, Junior First Citizen; Sophie Velasquez, Youth of the Year; James and Gina Audritsh for Relay for Life, Event of the Year; and the Ronny and Janice Webb family, Special Award.

The 2014 Distinguished Service Awards banquet, which is sponsored by Silverton Health, will be held March 14 at the Woodburn Health Center. Tickets will go on sale this week and are available at the chamber office, located at 979 Young St. in Woodburn.

Senior First Citizen: Patti Milne

by: SUBMITTED - Patti Milne

Milne, a resident of Woodburn since 1984, has served as Marion County commissioner since 1998 and has also served in the Oregon Legislature and on the Woodburn School Board. She has had a leading role in starting “Striking Out Meth in Marion County” event held at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer every summer since 2004. The event’s aim is to reduce neighborhood meth labs and gang activity, and to provide a positive community event for underprivileged children. Another leadership role she has taken has been in organizing a National Night Out barbecue in her neighborhood every year since 2005.

Milne is also a member of the chamber and Woodburn Rotary, for which she will serve as president in the 2014-15 year. She has also been involved with the Oregon Garden Foundation.

Milne has served on boards for Blanchet Catholic School, SEDCOR, Willamette Valley Hospice, St. Joseph Shelter and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Northwest Senior and Disability Services and Travel Salem.

“Patti blurs the line between what she does for her job and what she does as a private citizen, yet the goal is the same — a better community,” said the team that nominated her. “Patti participates in countless meetings and activities both on and off the clock that benefit Woodburn.”

Junior First Citizen: Anthony Veliz

by: LINDSAY KEEFER - Anthony Veliz (second from left) was surprised Friday afternoon with the announcement that he is this year's Junior First Citizen. He is flanked by his wife, Melinda Veliz (left), Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce's board president Amanda Pratt (second from right) and the chamber's executive director Harry Lee Kwai.

Veliz, who was born and raised in Woodburn, owns and operates Izo Marketing, and is active with Hispanic youth. He has done extensive work with boys and girls soccer teams, raising money for uniforms, tournaments and equipment. Veliz helped found L.E.a.R.N., an organization for Latino youths that provides tutoring, workshops, scholarships and the annual Oregon Latino Basketball Tournament.

His work with young people also extends to serving on the board of Children’s Institute, facilitating and encouraging youths to attend the annual United States Hispanic Leadership Conference in Chicago and providing mentorship and tutoring support in Woodburn. Veliz also serves on the Oregon Board of Education.

Additionally, Veliz has organized Latino voter registration, is a member of the American Leadership Forum and has promoted Woodburn events, most notably Fiesta Mexicana.

“Anthony Veliz has definitely embodied outstanding community service and gives much of his 24-hour days to modeling the face of volunteering and giving back to a community he loves,” his nominee, Ruby Wolfer, wrote.

Youth of the Year: Sophie Velasquez

Sophie Velasquez, a senior at Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy, has been an active volunteer in Woodburn since she was 13. She has been a member of the city’s Yoby: LINDSAY KEEFER - Sophie Velasquez was named Youth of the Year.uth Advisory Board, is a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board and served on last year’s Fiesta Mexicana Court. Her involvement with the city has led her to volunteer in various community events, from Walt’s Run to Woodburn Proud Clean Up Day to the city’s Easter Egg Hunt. She also has helped facilitate events, such as a local fundraiser for Haiti’s earthquake relief and a vigil for a local toddler who died in a traffic accident.

Not only has she volunteered, but she has attended several leadership trainings and conferences. Through school, she has been active in drama, the advanced choir, Poetry Out Loud and National Art Honors Society.

“Her belief is that she can give of her time volunteering and (as) a way to thank the community for all the support she has received,” her nominee, Marta Trinidad, wrote.

Velasquez was awarded the Act Six Scholarship to Warner Pacific College.

“She wants to return to the Woodburn community after receiving her degree and give back for all that Woodburn has provided her,” Trinidad wrote.

Event of the Year: Relay for Life (co-chairs James and Gina Audritsh)

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF GINA AUDRITSH - James and Gina Audritsh were awarded a special award for their work on the Woodburn Area Relay for Life.James and Gina Audritsh have served as co-chairs of the Woodburn Area Relay for Life in 2006, 2007 and 2013. In 2007, the event raised $117,000, the most ever recorded in Woodburn’s Relay event.

“Their optimism, enthusiasm and organization create a positive atmosphere for the entire preparation and the event itself,” said nominee Rhonda Judson. “James and Gina set an admirable example to their children and everyone who knows them of positive support for their community.”

Special Award: The Webb family

The Webb Family lives and works in Woodburn and has been a generous support of the Woodburn community.

Chiropractor Ronny Webb provides free physical exams for local high school athletes. Webb Chiropractic holds a food and toy drive for Love, Santa, for which the family also provides many baked treats.

Daughter Tana Jo Neliton served as co-chair of Woodburn Area Relay for Life in 2010 and 2013. She is also on the Woodburn Proud Board.

Janice Webb has also been active with Relay, working to decorate Luminaria bags and providing baked treats for survivors.

The Webbs also donate to Rally for the Cure Golf Tournament in The Estates.

“The Webb family never says no to a donation request for many events and causes,” said nominee Rhonda Judson.

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