Sanna Hern and Scott Hendy ended up with the widest smiles at Thursday evening’s Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce 60th annual Membership Meeting and First Citizens Banquet.
Hern was named the 2013 Female First Citizen and Hendy the 2013 Male First Citizen in front of an audience of about 600 people in Douglas Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
Both longtime community leaders and volunteers said they had no idea they were being considered for the honors.
“I’m so overwhelmed by this,” Hern said shortly after her name was announced by Cheryl Ford, the 2012 Female First Citizen. “Thank you so much.”
A few minutes later, Don Bailey, the 2012 Male First Citizen, announced Hendy as the 2013 honoree.
“Wow, what a surprise,” Hendy said. “It’s just an honor to serve.”
Hern thanked Brooke Communications owner Pat Markham for bringing the couple to Roseburg and she thanked Donna Watkins for introducing the two into the community and volunteer activities. Dan Hern was named the 1996 Male First Citizen.
Sanna Hern’s involvement has included Altrusa International, Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Umpqua Valley, the Southern Oregon Wine Institute, Roseburg Downtown Association, Phoenix School and Umpqua Valley Arts Association.
“We care so much about this community, we want to help it move forward,” Hern said. “We want to get out there and make things happen.
“Through the work, you find so many of us are on the same page,” she added. “So many people in this community give effortlessly, they’re so unselfish. People here pull together and work for the benefit of the county. It’s what we are.”
Twenty people wrote letters in support of Hern’s selection.
“Her commitment is unique in that Sanna always has a positive attitude and seems to be able to carry on and ‘infect’ others with that same positive attitude,” Charley Thompson wrote in his letter. “She doesn’t ask for or expect any recognition, but is deserving of the same.”
“This is one enthusiastic and inspiring woman,” wrote Lynn Engle. “I’m always so impressed with her upbeat attitude ... you just don’t ever see her in a bad mood ... it inspires others to not only work harder, but be happier about it while they’re doing it.”
Hendy moved to Roseburg in 1975 to practice veterinary science after graduating from the University of California, Davis. He worked for Bailey Veterinary Clinic for three years before opening his own practice, Parkway Animal Hospital. He’s also co-owner of the Clover Hills Cattle Ranch.
He’s been involved in volunteer organizations and activities since 1976. Those include the Optimist Club, North Roseburg Rotary Club, Wildlife Safari Foundation, Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center, United Way, Central Douglas County Family YMCA, FFA and 4-H. He’s also volunteered for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Equestrian Trail projects.
“It’s a pleasure working with so many other volunteers over the years,” Hendy said. “There’s a lot of deserving people in this community, and it’s an honor to be a part of that group.
“This is a wonderful place to live and a wonderful place to practice veterinary science because of all the animals here. I feel like I’m living the James Herriot stories.”
Hendy thanked his wife, Sandy, for supporting him in all his endeavors.
Tom Nelson wrote one of several letters in support of Hendy’s nomination for the honor.
“For more than 35 years, Scott has made great contributions to this community,” Nelson wrote. “Some of Scott’s favorite phrases are, ‘Well, let’s do it,’ ‘What do you mean we can’t?’ and ‘Why not?’”
Hendy’s selection marked the second year in a row that a veterinarian was selected for the male honor. Bailey practiced veterinary medicine for 41 years in the county before retiring in the early 1990s.
Bailey got the biggest laugh from the audience Thursday evening when he said the 2012 honor earned him more respect in the lambing shed.
Earlier in the evening, Todd Way of Douglas Fast Net, the 2013 chair of the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, turned that position over to Alex Palm of i.e. Engineering.
• News-Review Features Editor Craig Reed can be reached by calling 541-957-4210 or by email at email@example.com.