Leading citizens win chamber awards

By Dick Mason, The Observer February 25, 2013 11:17 am

Steve McClure
Steve McClure
Vicky Brogoitti
Vicky Brogoitti

by DICK MASON / The Observer 

Woman of the Year Vicky Brogoitti had planned to be in Texas but was in for a big surprise Friday night 

Vicky Brogoitti of Summerville had  planned to be in Texas Friday evening.

Brogoitti instead found herself not in the Lone Star state but alone at the podium of the annual Union County Chamber of Commerce awards banquet.

The director of the Union County Commission on Children and Families, Brogoitti shared the spotlight with Union County Commissioner Steve McClure who was named the chamber’s man of the year.

Brogoitti said she had no inkling that she was in line for a coveted honor. 

“I was supposed to be in Texas tonight but was told (about a week ago) that I had to come to the banquet because my daughter in-law was going to be honored,’’  Brogoitti said.  

 Brogoitti was saluted for years of reaching out to young people in the community during an introduction by Marilyn Fallow of La Grande. Brogoitti has served as a volunteer for many school programs, worked extensively to help homeless youths and started the successful Union County  Fit Kids program, the Union County Safe Communities Coalition and more. 

“If there is a family or child in need of support she is always there,’’ Fallow said.

The award comes at a bittersweet time for Brogoitti for the Union County Commission on Children and Families will be discontinued because of education reforms Gov. John Kitzhaber is making. Kitzhaber’s reforms call  for state money which had been going to commissions for children and families around the state to early learning education programs.

 Brogoitti, who praised by name many of the people with the commission who have helped make the commission a success, said she does not know what is in store for her career.

“It has been a wonderful journey. I pray that God’s wisdom will let me recognize the  opportunities which will be there for me,’’ she said.

McClure, who has been a Union County Commissioner for 221/2  years, was saluted for his extensive service to the county.  John Howard of La Grande introduced McClure by praising his skills as a political leader and his service to his country while serving in the Vietnam War in 1968 and 1969 with the U.S. Army.

Howard quoted one person who submitted a letter in support of McClure which stated.

that he is one of the most effective local  political leaders  he has worked with.

McClure said he inspired to do what he does because of his belief in our democratic system.

“What I do is a labor of love,’’ McClure said. “I do it because I Iove  and believe in local politics.’’

He noted that during his lifetime he has seen the United States survive great upheaval  including the resignation of a president, the impeachment of a president and the selection of a president essentially by the U.S. Supreme Court. Still the United States remains strong because its people believe in democracy and practice it continuously at the local level.    

“We survive because we solve our problems ourselves by the democratic process…We live and breath democracy,’’ McClure said. “There will never be a moment in which I will give up on the democratic process.’’

Also honored at the banquet, conducted at the Blue Mountain Conference Center, were Carol Lauritzen who was named Union County Educator of the Year and Randy and Michelle Wilson who received the honor for having the Business of the Year. Lauritzen is a professor of education at Eastern Oregon University and Randy and Michelle Wilson are the owners of Grocery Outlet in Island City.

 

Brogoitti said she had no inkling that she was in line for a coveted honor. 

“I was supposed to be in Texas tonight but was told (about a week ago) that I had to come to the banquet because my daughter in-law was going to be honored,’’ Brogoitti said. 

During an introduction by Marilyn Fallow of La Grande, Brogoitti was saluted for years of reaching out to young people in the community. Brogoitti has served as a volunteer for many school programs, worked extensively to help homeless youths and started the successful Union County Fit Kids program, the Union County Safe Communities Coalition and more. 

“If there is a family or child in need of support, she is always there,’’ Fallow said.

The award comes at a bittersweet time for Brogoitti, for the Union County Commission on Children and Families will be discontinued because of education reforms Gov. John Kitzhaber is making. Kitzhaber’s reforms call for state money that had been going to commissions for children and families around the state to early learning education programs.

 Brogoitti, who praised by name many of the people with the commission who have helped make the commission a success, said she does not know what is in store for her career.

“It has been a wonderful journey. I pray that God’s wisdom will let me recognize the opportunities which will be there for me,’’ she said.

McClure, who has been a Union County commissioner for 22-1/2 years, was saluted for his extensive service to the county. John Howard of La Grande introduced McClure by praising his skills as a political leader and his service to his country while serving in the Vietnam War in 1968 and 1969 with the U.S. Army.

Howard quoted one person who submitted a letter in support of McClure, which stated that he is one of the most effective local political leaders he has worked with.

McClure said he inspired to do what he does because of his belief in our democratic system.

“What I do is a labor of love,’’ McClure said. “I do it because I Iove and believe in local politics.’’

He noted that during his lifetime he has seen the United States survive great upheaval including the resignation of a president, the impeachment of a president and the selection of a president essentially by the U.S. Supreme Court. Still, the United States remains strong because its people believe in democracy and practice it continuously at the local level.  

“We survive because we solve our problems ourselves by the democratic process. We live and breath democracy,’’ McClure said. “There will never be a moment in which I will give up on the democratic process.’’

Also honored at the banquet, conducted at the Blue Mountain Conference Center, were Carol Lauritzen, who was named Union County Educator of the Year, and Randy and Michelle Wilson, who received the honor for having the Business of the Year. Lauritzen is a professor of education at Eastern Oregon University, and Randy and Michelle Wilson are the owners of Grocery Outlet in Island City.