The Rigby Chamber of Commerce held their annual Farmers-Merchant Banquet on Thursday, July 15 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

The MC for the evening was David Crasper, and the live auctioneer was husband and wife team Kurt and Becky Coates. There was also a silent auction for those interested in bidding on items on a piece of paper.

The beginning of the night started with the invocation given by Seth Bagley and the dinner was catered by Broulims with service provided by the Rigby Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint Young Women.

“We’re going to celebrate you because of your influence to affect people’s lives for the better,” said Crasper about the award recipients.

Before the live-auction began, Crasper asked the crowd to raise their hands to make sure they knew how to bid. Items that were auctioned off were donated by local businesses.

The Business of the Year award was presented by Ginger Crystal to Business of the Year recipient Scotty’s True Value and Carquest owner Kirk Scott.

Crystal stated service has always been in the family when it comes to the Scotts. Keith Scott served in the army from 1943 to 1946, served in the VFW as the District and State Commander, and served as Mayor on the Rigby City Council from 1968 to 1982.

Keith opened his first business in Ucon in 1947 and then moved the service station to Rigby in 1950. “Scotty,” as he was called, opened his first auto parts store in 1981, and over the next two years grew out of that location and moved into the store across the street in 1983. In 2003, the rental store was purchased as well as the main store getting added onto.

Crystal stated service in the Scott family continued for many years and many generations. Scotty’s has quickly gained the reputation of having the best hardware selection in the state and is in the Top 5 in paint sales in the region.

“Scotty’s True Value and Carquest is still thriving and practically bursting at its seems to provide this community with everything from auto parts, to plumbing, to hardware, to the garden center,” said Crystal. “Kirk and the gang cannot thank you enough for the support through the years and appreciate letting them serve you for the last 40 years!”

The Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation Farmer of the Year award was presented by Pat Hendren to Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation Farmer winner Justin Place.

Hendren stated Place is a second-generation farmer in Hamer. He currently grows hay, barley, wheat, and mustard.

Justin’s ah-ha moment for soil conservation came while watching a Ken Burns video on “The Dust Bowl.” He couldn’t help wondering why the people didn’t try something different when their current practice obviously wasn’t working, while also thinking how much the images resembled a Hamer spring wind. Place networks with farmer-friends in Texas and other areas where water shortages are even more prevalent than in southeast Idaho. Place adapts their successful practices to help tame his own spring-wind sandstorms in order to improve his crop production and soil health.

Place served on the Farm Service Administration County Committee here in Jefferson County before beginning his service on the executive board, and as representative for Jefferson County, with The Idaho Grain Producers Association.

The Farmer of the Year award was presented by Joseph Sagers to Farmer of the Year Pat Hendren.

Hendren grew up in North California, and participated in 4-H for his entire life, roping his two daughters into participating as well with swine, goats, and other animals along the way.

Hendren is currently operating a commercial beef herd in Jefferson County.

The Veteran of the Year award was presented by Roy Gibson to Veteran of the Year recipient Frank Stees.

Stees served in the Navy in naval aviation and was a jet mechanic. Stees is also a Vietnam veteran and served in 1962 before it became the vietnam war. He was in Cambodia before he went to Vietnam. Stees helps at the Senior Center in Ririe every Friday and every spring he drives a truck for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints farm in Ririe. He’s all about funerals and will always lend a helping hand. He’s the Post Quartermaster and takes care of all of the VFW finances, which is a huge job.

He’s the neighborhood mechanic; anybody that doesn’t have a car or ATV that isn’t working, the community knows to call on Frank.

“If you give him a call, he shows up,” said Roy. “He helps with any project, and he’s always the first one there.”

The Farm Bureau Woman of the Year was presented by Jessica Larsen to Farm Bureau Woman of the Year Holly Hancock.

Hancock’s first taste of Agriculture was when she met her husband. He told her he was hauling sunshine; it was anything but sunshine. Sunshine is manure.

Hancock traded her heels for tractor wheels. She and her husband have expanded their 80 acres into 1,000 acres with a herd of cattle.

The Chamber of Commerce Scholarship recipients were Blake Anderson and Ben Wells. Both received a scholarship worth $1,000 that was presented by Theresa Anderson. Blake will be attending Minnesota Technical Community College and Ben will be attending Brigham Young University in Utah.

The Rigby High School Junior of the Year award was presented by Leon Clark to Rigby High School Junior of the Year Jada Thurber.

The Rigby High School Senior of the Year award was presented by Clark and given high school graduate to Brigham Nelson. Nelson will be serving a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint mission before he returns to start a farming and ranching business where he offers high quality beef to his customers.

The Elementary Teacher of the Year award was presented by Gary Comstock to the Elementary Teacher of the Year Rebecca Davis. Comstock stated when he thought of Davis, what came to mind was old school.

“What is old school?” said Comstock. “Does it mean having your students do good on tests? How to become a good student? If that’s old school, students are receiving a great education.”

The Secondary Teacher of the Year award was presented by Richard Howard to the Secondary Teacher of the Year Krista Gneiting. Gneiting was involved in the Rigby Middle School shooting that occurred in May, where she helped to hold the shooter until first responders could arrive.

“She jumped in a miraculous way,” said Howard. “She’s always aware of what people need.”

The City of Rigby Employee of the Year award was presented by Doug Burke to the City of Rigby Employee of the Year Mitch Bradley.

Bradley began working for the city in September of 2012; he was appointed to Public Works Director five years later in 2017.

“There is not a time when he is not working on behalf of the city,” said Burke. “He puts the interest of the city, residents and employees ahead of his own.”

The Community Service Award of the Year was presented by Brandy Anderson Community Service to Lisa Ellis. Anderson stated Ellis is an amazing person and is thankful the community has her.

“Lisa is always willing to help anyone and everyone,” said Brandy. “She is the spark and the force.”

The Responder of the Year award was presented by Fire Chief Carl Anderson to Responder of the Year Sam Corey.

Corey was one of the first ever cadets in the Explorer Program in early 2018.

“We watched Sam grow as a young man and we can smile and say, ‘He is one of ours!’” said Anderson.

The City of Rigby Officer of the Year award was presented by Chief Sam Tower to City of Rigby Officer of the Year Senior Patrol Officer Dan Bruno. Bruno put together a lot of the grants for the department over the past year and has helped the department get the new equipment and over-time they need.

Jefferson County Deputy of the Year award was presented by Sheriff Steve Anderson to Jefferson County Deputy of the Year Deputy Ron Keller. Keller started working for the department in 2009, working in corrections, patrol, and now a west side deputy.

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