“Best of Awards”

  • Thu Feb 6th, 2020 9:28am
  • News
“Best of Awards”

It is time once again for the Forks Chamber of Commerce to recognize the “Best” of our community. On Wednesday, Feb. 12 nominees will be honored and from those, a citizen, a volunteer, and a business will be chosen to receive an award recognizing their contributions to our community.

The nominees are:

Volunteers – Tom and Janet Hughes, Glenn King, Robin Poole, Richard Halverson, Laura LaFrenz, Diane Edwards, Warren Johnson, Dixie Gaydeski, Joe Wright, Monty and Donna Burt.

Citizen – Mike Rowley, Mark and Mary Raben, Mike Blair, MelvinJohn Ashue, Linda Offutt, Warren Johnson, Allen Nelson and Juanita Weissenfels.

Business of the Year – Brent and Tena Gagnon, Pacific Forest Management, Concerned Citizens, True Value, and Sully’s.

Each nominee received a letter of recommendation and several were nominated in multiple categories. Here are just a few lines from each nomination letter.


This duo, Tom and Janet Hughes have done much for the community through VFW activities, the driving force behind the Gold Star Memorial and working toward recognition of our veterans.

Glenn King has volunteered at the Forks Food Bank for many years. He also does volunteer work at the Elks Club, helps out senior citizens and is also involved with Veterans in our community.

Everyone has a Robin Poole story, all during the time he worked as our UPS man he also coached and officiated youth league sports. In retirement, he continues to give his time and money to coach field events at FHS.

Richard Halverson aka Mr. Cando has been a great volunteer in Forks; for the Chamber, Timber Museum, Lions Club and just about anybody that needs a hand.

Laura LeFranz quietly, consistently and lovingly serving people with the Feeding 5000 for many years and along the way helping many individuals with a hand up.

Diane Edwards “I can’t fathom why she has never been nominated before!” She is the backbone of Soroptimist’s Second Chances store and the oncology support project. She is involved with the Hull Foundation, Jr. High Student of the month, and honors breakfast.

Pastor Warren Johnson (nominated twice) is always working to help others, it is amazing he has time to sleep. He was one of the driving forces behind the fundraising for the Long Term Care bus. Warren makes our town a more welcoming place.

Dixie Gaydeski donates a lot of time and money sewing items for the Cancer Center, the Forks Timber Museum and anyone else who needs a blanket. She volunteered for many years at the clothing Bank.

Joe Wright has donated much time and effort to the American Legion in Forks.

Monty and Donnas Burt retired to Forks about 15 years ago and immediately got involved. Their participation in many West End Business and Professional Association activities help keep the organization viable.


Mike Rowley is not only our police chief he is one of the most pro-active citizens in our town. Even criminals he has to deal with treat him with respect! He recently organized the “Sober New Year’s Eve Party” that gave people the chance to get together and celebrate in an alcohol-free environment.

Mark and Mary Raben have made a huge investment in Forks in 2019, the new Woodland Inns.

Mike Blair – as a coach he provides perfect balance of pushing athletes to develop their maximum potential while maintaining total respect of athletes and parents. At times demanding, but totally fair.

MelvinJohn Ashue is a vibrant member of the community, both in Jefferson County, and Clallam County. He represents the Hoh Tribe and Chalaat Development with a cheerful demeanor and is always helping others to succeed.

Linda Offutt has been an active and engaged member of the Forks Community for many years. She has served as the manager of the Forks Timber museum since 2014 and has made incredible changes to the museum to help educate the community and drive tourism to the West End. She serves on several boards and demonstrates a true love for her community.

Warren Johnson regularly provides the newspaper with articles and is always on hand to coordinate the Harvest Dinner and Senior Lunches. He is the epitome of an active and engaged citizen of Forks.

Trooper Allen Nelson the outpouring of love and support recently shown for Trooper Nelson, after his recent illness, truly shows he is doing something right in his professional and personal life. In addition to working with the WSP he has been active with the Masons providing meals for veterans at Thanksgiving. He also has worked with the State Patrol to provide donations to community events like the Scholarship Auction.

Juanita Weissenfels has been active on City Council, a longtime volunteer with Freinds of Forks Animals, pianist at church and other venues, and friendly to all old and new members of the church and the community.


The West End should be grateful for the entrepreneurs Brent and Tena Gagnon. Brent developed West Waste providing garbage and sanitation needs for western Clallam and Jefferson counties. Tena developed Fern Acres to be a destination venue, adding to our burgeoning hospitality industry.

It is great to have a forest management company like Pacific Forest Management based in Forks with two generations working in it.

Sully’s held a fundraiser to support Trooper Nelson, the community was amazing and the staff was on top of it! They are always so friendly and Bruce donates to so many things that most people aren’t even aware of. They are one of our oldest family-owned businesses.

Concerned Citizens provides two critical services #1 jobs for people in our community for 40-plus years and #2 services to a variety of people in many settings for 40-plus years.

True Value has been a longtime business in our community and it is good to see news owners, Dean and Sarah Decker, are continuing to carry on being involved. While learning a new career Dean has taken the time to be involved and supportive of many community activities.

In addition to selecting one of each of these awards, the Chamber will also bestow the “Halvie Award” to a local entity that made a difference in 2019. The Halvie Award is named in honor of Inez Halverson, a longtime community member, and volunteer.

There will also be a special surprise award!

The Best of Awards will be held at noon at Blakeslee’s Bar and Grill on Wednesday, Feb. 12. Lunch is available for purchase and the public is welcome. Come and thank all these amazing community members!

Christi Baron