Chamber recognizes 2017 community contributions at annual Awards Night event

A leader for groups of all ages was honored for his all in or go home passion for the community.
Chad Patterson was recognized with the Citizen of the Year award from the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce at its 2017  Annual Chamber Awards Gala held on March 2 at Kirtland Health Sciences Center. Nearly 200 people attended the event and live music was provided by Dharma Records. Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, was also on hand to present certificates honoring the award winners, which were signed by Gov. Rick Snyder and other state officials.
Patterson is involved with promoting the AuSable River Canoe Marathon, Relay for Life, Celebrity Server Night and Campaign Kick-Off Spaghetti Dinner to benefit Crawford County United Way, and the Grayling schools. He also traveled to Lansing with a group of Grayling enthusiasts and wrote an entertaining sales skit to help sell the community to the Michigan Main Street Committee.  
Patterson provides theatrical education and mentoring to all ages through his Acting Up Theater Company and Grayling’s High School Players productions. He is the voice of the radio production of “A Christmas Carol” and “A Christmas Story” working with Blarney Stone Broadcasting and Kirtland Center for Performing Arts.  
Presented for the first time this year, Ray’s Barbecue Brews & Blues was recognized with the New Grayling Chamber Member Business award for new businesses that opened between January 2017 and December 2017.
Owners Linda Matas and Jeff Gardner  opened the restaurant on March 15, 2017. When asked why they decided to open their own restaurant, their response was: “We both had experience in the industry and truly enjoyed it. We felt the riverside location was really something special and sorely lacking in the marketplace.”
Their nomination reads: “So great to finally have a dining option in town on the river with 30 craft beers on tap and excellent food at fair prices. I’m excited to see this establishment grow.” 
The business partners were also recognized for hosting the AuSable Canoe Marathon through the Old AuSable Fly Shop and the new restaurant.
Teresa Bonamie, the Grayling High School counseling secretary, and Meredith Anderson, the instructor of the Grayling High School’s Student Senate, accepted the You Made It Happen award on behalf of the Viking Pantry. 
The pantry started at Grayling High School in 2016. The purpose of the new pantry at the school is to support disadvantaged students in the community by keeping them fresh and fed, allowing them to focus on their education. The Pantry is funded solely through the fundraising efforts of Grayling High School Student Senate and Grayling High School Staff Supporting our Students Committee. 
The pantry was started by a concerned staff member who realized Grayling High School students had needs that were going unmet at home. The Viking Pantry is a way for students to access food, hygiene products, and cleaning supplies in a confidential manner. It is supported by donations, fund-raisers, and local grants. 
A committee of staff members runs the pantry, and students from Student Senate volunteer their time and energy to make it all possible. The program is now being adopted at other schools in the district and is being modeled by other school districts.
Jason and Heather Malone accepted the 2017 Chamber Member Business of the Year for the Rolling Oak Brewing Company. The business is housed in a century-old building which originally stored ice taken from Lake Margrethe to cool items being shipped on the railroad. After the ice house closed, the building and its additions served as a clothespin factory and a quilt shop before Rolling Oak moved in.
Rolling Oak purchased the vacant ice house in 2014 and began a multi-year construction effort, going to great lengths to retain the building’s historic character. The wallboards were repurposed from the original ice house, and the light fixtures were salvaged from an old church in Cheboygan. Jason handcrafted the tables using old electrical spools, and the bar is milled from oak from Higgins Lake. 
Rolling Oak hosts bingo at their business every Wednesday where earnings and a collection of donated goods go to local organizations every week. 
Rebecca Knepper, the acting president of the Grayling Promotional Association (GPA), accepted the 2017 Chamber Member Organization of the Year award on behalf of the organization.
GPA was founded in 1983 by a small group of local woman with family businesses in Grayling. It has grown to a non-profit organization that has been a stronghold in promoting the Grayling area as a whole. GPA has increased its partnership with other organizations to help build a stronger community. 
Fundraisers held include Pictionary Olympics, the GPA Fashion Show, Junque in the Trunk, the Fall Arts & Crafts Show, Barely Used Christmas Shop, and the Festival of Trees. 
They contribute and support other organizations and events such as Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, the Crawford County Historical Society, Kirtland Health Science Center, the Artisan Village, Grayling Chamber, Grayling Main Street, and the Baby-to-Toddler Closet. 
They are involved in the beautification of the downtown area, consisting of the large flower pots, flower boxes on the bridges and hanging baskets, as well as the continued maintenance of watering the flowers throughout the summer months. Every season they are around town putting out new seasonal decor. 

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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