Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
Santoro, SEIU recognized at Business Partnership dinner
RIVERSIDE — Washington community members gathered at the Riverside Casino’s event center Monday night for the Greater Washington Business Partnership’s annual dinner. The event included a look back at the year from the area’s Main Street, Chamber and economic development groups, and recognized recipients of several awards.
Candidates for each award were informed in advance of their nominations, but not of who, specifically would win. The approach left some surprised when they were called to the stage.
"There were plenty of deserving people, so it was a definite surprise,“ said Isabella Santoro, recognized at the event as Washington’s Citizen of the Year. ”All the words just kind of vacated my mind, and all I could really think was the most important think, which is, ‘Thank you’ … I just can’t say enough good things about Washington.“
The Harvey Holden Special Service Award was presented to Washington County HACAP Director RenElla Crawford. The announcement was presented by WEDG representatives, named after a former city official in Washington.
Crawford said she was also surprised by her nomination, but said it felt good to be recognized.
“I’ve been doing my job for about 40 years, and I’m very passionate about what I do,” she said. “I continue to feel the same way about my job I did the moment I started … it was emotional to realize that someone was recognizing what I did, or what I’ve done and what I will continue to do for a few more years, maybe.”
The Southeast Iowa Union was named Business of the Year by the Washington Chamber of Commerce. In another unexpected turn of events, the award was announced by Gazette Executive Editor Zack Kucharski and Company President Kelly Homewood.
SEIU Publisher Matt Bryant said credited the paper’s continued success, expansion into new markets and exploration of new platforms in 2022 to the paper’s staff and readers.
“We have a strong team, we couldn’t do any of the things that we do without the strong team that we have,” he said in an improvised acceptance speech. “We keep trying to be relevant, keep trying to do new things, keep trying to reach an audience in new ways, and we couldn’t do any of that without you. You guys are our supporters and what keeps us in business.”
Winners of the night included the following:
- Main Street’s Volunteer of the Year: Dawn Schindler
- WEDG’s Harvey Holden Award: RenElla Crawford
- WEDG’s Past President Award: Terry Engelken
- Chamber’s Business of the Year: Southeast Iowa Union
- Chamber’s Citizen of the Year: Isabella Santoro