Oregon Bankers Association Presents the 2010 Community Applause Awards to Gnome In The Woods Construction and the Gibson & Straube Family of Businesses

Dec 15, 2010, 14:37 ET from Oregon Bankers Association

SALEM, Ore., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Oregon Bankers Association (OBA), in partnership with the Independent Community Banks of Oregon (ICBO) and OregonBusiness magazine, recently announced that Gnome In The Woods Construction and the Gibson and Straube family of businesses are the recipients of the 2010 Community Applause Awards. Founded in 1996, the award competition is open for banks doing business in Oregon to nominate their business customers in recognition of their service in the community.

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During the OBA/ICBO Annual Directors & Officers Winter Conference in December, OBA President and CEO Linda Navarro presented a commemorative plaque to representatives from both companies who also each received $1,000 to be donated to a non‐profit organization of their choice. Gnome In The Woods Construction's donation went to the Uptown Business & Revitalization Association. The Gibson and Straube family selected the Oregon Supported Living Program. The award ceremony also included a video presentation about each award recipient. These videos are available for viewing online at www.oregonbankers.com/community/applause-awards.

Nominated by Ron Freborg, branch manager at Sterling Savings Bank in Oakridge, OR., Gnome In The Woods Construction won in the Business with less than 50 employees category. George and Sayre Custer, owners of Gnome In The Woods Construction, came to Oregon a few years ago looking to retire, but instead have been busy making a positive impact on the rural community of Oakridge. The former mill town has been struggling to remain vital for a number of years. George and Sayre immediately began having an impact on the community. Sayre serves on the board of the Oakridge Chamber of Commerce and chaired the local census drive, setting a record number of responses for Oakridge. They volunteer their time for many causes, including the Uptown Business Revitalization Association, of which George is now president. Under George's leadership, grant funding helped restore old store fronts in the Uptown area of Oakridge. New business have arrived and old ones have been revived.

Gnome In The Woods' most recent project is the renovation of an old building in the Uptown area of Oakridge. The building, named "The Uptown" is being completely restored and soon will house several businesses with individual storefront facades within the building. The Uptown serves as a business incubator for the town of Oakridge, allowing companies who may not be able to otherwise afford their own property to establish a presence in Oakridge at an affordable price.

"With all that George and Sayre do, you might think that all they do is give, and you would be mostly right. The example they set is wonderful, but George and Sayre also expect you to contribute what you can, and hold us all up to a high standard of professionalism, ethics and comradeship," said Freborg.

The Gibson and Straube family of businesses, including Dari Mart, Lochmead Dairy and Lochmead Farms, won in the Business with 50 or more employees category. The family of companies was nominated by DeAnn Cherbas, vice president and manager of Citizens Bank in Junction City and Harrisburg, OR.

The Gibson and Straube families and their businesses have been an economic driver in the Willamette Valley since 1941. All of the companies intermix and work together for a common purpose of providing the highest quality products from the beginning of the food chain to the table. Their product lines include but are not limited to milk products, soy, coconut and nut based ice cream, blueberries, beans, mint and mint oil. They have approximately 500 employees throughout their farm and stores, and their employees take extreme pride in what they do. This family and their businesses not only contribute to the local economy; they provide financial and human resources to support young people and those in need. The company estimates that they give well over $250,000 annually to organizations, and at the very least, one person a day is out volunteering somewhere. They donate their time and resources to dozens of well‐deserving organizations.

"Citizens Bank is honored to recognize such an outstanding customer and supporter of our local communities," said Cherbas.

About The Oregon Bankers Association

Established in 1905, the Oregon Bankers Association is Oregon's only full‐service trade association representing state and national commercial banks, thrifts and savings banks chartered to do business in Oregon. More information is available at www.oregonbankers.com.

SOURCE Oregon Bankers Association