February 12, 2002 11:00 pm

By Bill Rautenstrauch

For The Observer

JOSEPH A group of Wallowa County movers and shakers was honored earlier this week at the annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.

Those receiving plaques at the Joseph Civic Center included Diane Snyder, Bruce Penoske, John Bailey, Lee Bollman, David Smyth, Ann Hayes, Reid Kooch, Elwayne Henderson, Sadie Isley and Tim Gilbert. All were recognized for contributions they made to better their community during 2001.

Snyder, executive director of Wallowa Resources Inc., captured the Civic Leader award.

Diane is the picture of what civic leadership is all about and her commitment to her community is exceptional, said a nomination statement prepared by the staff of Wallowa Resources.

Snyder, a former Wallowa County planning director, serves on Wallowa Countys Economic Development and Natural Resources standing committees, and is a member of the county Business Facilitation and Workforce Investment boards.

Involvements outside the county include the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Station Advisory Committee and the Oregon Progress Board.

Last winter, when unemployment in Wallowa County was high, Snyder was instrumental in helping restock the Wallowa County Food Bank.

Presidents Award

Penoske and Bailey received the prestigious Presidents Award. Penoske is president and chief executive officer of Community Bank; Bailey is president of the Joseph branch. They received the award for the impact they have had on local economic development.

Business Leader

Bollman, owner of the Bollman Funeral Home and the Enterprise Flower Shop and president of the Enterprise Merchants Association, was selected by the chamber for the Business Leader award.

According to the nomination submitted by Darlene Johnson, Merchant Association membership has risen and participation in association programs have increased under Bollmans guidance.

In 2001 he helped expand the annual downtown Winterfest Celebration from a one-day event to a two-day event.

Education leader

Smyth, winner of the Education Leader award, was honored for his work for the Wallowa County Education Service District. He retired last spring, ending a distinguished career that began in the 1970s.

Linda Bauck, who presented Smyth with the award, praised the work he did in the field of early childhood education.

The theme of his work was always, Is it good for the kids? she said. She lauded him for his insistence that the Wallowa County ESD remain its own entity, rather than consolidating with a larger district.

Unsung Hero

Hayes received the Unsung Hero Award. In addition to serving as volunteer curator of the Wallowa County Museum, Hayes is president of the Moonshine Ditch Co., a 100-year old Wallowa County entity. She is an officer of the Hurricane Creek Grange and a member of the Wallowa County Pomona Grange and the Wallowa County Farm Bureau.

I dont know of anyone who has done more for Wallowa County in her quiet way than Ann Hayes, said Sally Bowerman, who nominated Hayes for the award.

Agriculture Leader

Kooch of Enterprise was tapped for the Agricultural Leader award. Kooch operates a 750-acre ranch in the Leap area north of Enterprise. He serves on the Wallowa County Grain Growers Board. He also is involved with the Farm Credit Bureau, the Hurricane Creek Grange and the Wallowa County Cattlemens Association. His nomination states he has influenced Wallowa County youth through the 4-H and FFA programs.

Timber Leader

Henderson of Wallowa captured the chambers Timber Leader award. In addition to a ranch, his family owns Henderson Fuel and Henderson Logging.

He works primarily for the logging operation, and is credited with ensuring its survival through uncertain times.

Youth Leader awards

Isley, a student at Wallowa High School, and Gilbert, attending Joseph High, were recipients of the Chambers Youth Leader award.

Isley was honored both for her participation in 4-H and in community service projects. Gilbert was recognized for his leadership in 4-H and Future Farmers of America, and for community service in a broad range of activities.