By C.J. Barbre

By now you no doubt know that Hal Munter received the 2004 Man of the Year award and Gloria Scott was voted Woman of the Year for 2004 at a star-studded banquet on Saturday, Jan. 22 in the Lindsay Memorial Building.

The Memorial Building, which can seem pretty cold and generic, was glowing with warmth and excitement with a full house of smartly dressed dignitaries, Lindsay officials, local celebrities and spouses. The Lindsay High School Key Club served up the haute cuisine: chicken cordon blue and tri-tip, prepared by Bob's Drive-In and Catering. The Key Club was, by the way, named Organization of the Year.

Retiring Chamber of Commerce President Paul Gottschall had a beautiful message printed on the program, noting the "overwhelming success of the Farmers Market . . . Lindsay is continuing its renaissance, with its rich history and culture as it expands its borders and its prosperity. Lindsay has caught the eye of the world many times with its tenacity and its fortitude to tackle challenges that bigger cities cannot begin to come to grips with. The downtown vision, city flexibility infrastructure and can-do attitude are a tribute to the pioneers who founded our town. The murals, the [coming] Wellness Center, library and cultural arts center and on and on, show that we have the grit to take on the challenging opportunities that some only dream of . . . The future is in this night of stars above and in our hearts and children's eyes. We just have to grab onto that and hang on for dear life."

Gloria Scott personified exactly those things Gottschall alluded to, "challenging opportunities." She was introduced by the 2003 Woman of the Year, Lindsay Mayor Pro Tem Pam Kimball who described Scott as, "a caring, giving woman of character and class who has displayed leadership in serving others, particularly women, and love and commitment for family, friends and the community of Lindsay.

Scott established the Myers Businesswomen's Luncheon with the blessings of her employer, Myers Funeral Service, beginning at their Lindsay office. It proved so successful that it soon moved to the nearby Mt. Whitney social hall. Kimball explained that the participants, who take turns preparing the food, find the luncheons an opportunity to share information about what is going on in their workplaces, the city, the school district and their lives. "This great woman with the help of a small committee, keeps it all organized and graciously follows up each meeting with beautifully written thank-you notes, encouragement, and information on the next gathering."

Scott also partnered in a new business, The Elegant Attic, a women's consignment store in the Small Business Incubator this year, and recently signed on as a board member for the Lindsay-Strathmore Coordinating Council. She is a long-time member of the American Association of University Women, Kiwanis, and Toastmasters.

"I'm speechless if you can believe that," Gloria said upon receiving her trophy. "This is the greatest honor in the community. I'm thankful it's for something I love." She and her husband of 50 years, Roger, have lived in Lindsay 44 years. They have five children, one deceased.

The woman of character and class closed by saying, "I hope I deserve this as much as I thought others did. If we show we care, others will care."

Man of the Year, Hal Munter, had a number of things in common with the Woman of the Year, including being a resident of Lindsay for 44 years, the father of five children (all boys), married to his wife Helen for 55 years, and a long time member of the Kiwanis Club - 45 years. He was introduced by the 2003 Man of the Year, Councilmember Danny Salinas, who noted his many accomplishments starting with Kiwanis where Munter is a past president, past area Lt. Governor, secretary-treasurer for the past five years and is chairman of the Kiwanis Loan Committee. Munter has also been in charge of the Kiwanis concession stand that services youth sports activities and community events. The money goes to children's concerns such as Children's Hospital of Central California.

Munter is the man most identified with the Lindsay Community Theater and has been a board member since its inception. He is also the treasurer and has been the volunteer theater manager for a number of years. He has also been the director of and an actor in both dramataic and musical productions.

His boys kept him involved in community sports including a coach of youth baseball for 15years, serving on the Lindsay Recreation Authority board on and off for 30 years, and he has been on the board of Healthy Kids Healthy Lindsay from the beginning. In addition, he served three terms on the Lindsay School Board.

"This really comes as a surprise because most of what I've done in the community is in the past, instead of the present, but I'll take it anyway," Munter said to appreciative laughter. But in fact he is still very active in Kiwanis, the theater and stays with Healthy Kids Healthy Lindsay.

Munter said he never did anything with the idea of getting awards, he was just interested in making Lindsay a better place to live. "But I'm always happy to get an award to put on my trophy shelf," he said, leaving them laughing. Of course, this was the end of the ceremonies, with a dance following.

"What a great evening," said incoming Chamber of Commerce President Mark Mann. It was. Earlier, after being introduced by Paul Gottschall, he said, "I believe we are going to build on what we have already started. We can really bring something unique to this city, a gathering place with a real sense of community. I'm proud to serve as president, there is no place I would rather be."

Mann, who just became a Lindsay resident, moving from Porterville after purchasing what had been the home of Bill and Peggy Sanders, invited others to take the leap. "There are some in this room who are not residents. I hope by next year you will join us and will [become Lindsay residents]."

Additional highlights included 2004 Youth of the Year, Armando Solis; Employee of the Year, Bobbie Velasquez, and photos of the Key Club (see all on page 6); Landscape Award winners (all on page 14). Business of the Year went to Fred Buettner DDS. Former Lindsay City Manager Bill Drennen received the President's Award. A Lifetime Achievement Award went to former Lindsay Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carolyn Callison who received a standing ovation. Her compadre, Jean Hill, won the Volunteer of the Year Award for the umpteenth time while Chamber Ambassadors of the Year were Yonok Warson and Diane Mendivil. This year there was a new award, the 2004 American Spirit Award which went to retired District 1 Supervisor Bill Sanders, and was accepted on his behalf by his successor, Allen Ishida.

A great evening celebrating a great year, and it just keeps getting better.

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