Four finalists announced for 2016 Wilsonville First Citizen

Four leaders from the Wilsonville community have been selected as finalists for the 2016 Wilsonville First Citizen award, which is presented annually by the Rotary Club of Wilsonville. This year’s nominees for the prestigious award include John Budiao, CEO of Military Coach; Kyle Bunch, Agent with Kyle Bunch Agency of American Family Insurance; Tim Knapp, Mayor of Wilsonville; and Jean Tsokos, long-time Wilsonville community volunteer and leader with WilsonvilleSTAGE.

The finalists will be honored, and a winner announced, at Mahalo to You: The 2016 Heart of Gold Dinner and Auction, which will be held Saturday, February 25 at the Wilsonville Holiday Inn, 25425 S.W. 95th Ave., Wilsonville, Oregon. Tickets to the gala awards dinner and auction are $60 each or $480 for a table of eight. They can be purchased online at www.WilsonvilleHeart.com or https://wilsonvillerotary.ejoinme.org/tickets, or in person from any Wilsonville Rotarian.

This will be the 16th annual edition of the banquet, which was started in 2002 to honor Wilsonville’s community leaders who enrich the lives of all local residents, and as the Rotary Club’s largest fundraiser of the year which supports education and community enrichment efforts in Wilsonville. Richard Martens, president of the Wilsonville Rotary, and chair of the First Citizen Committee expressed his excitement about the number of nominations that were received for this year’s award.

“We had an extremely competitive pool of nominees for the First Citizen award,” Martens said. “Each of our four finalists has brought unique, valuable gifts to our town and has made Wilsonville a better place to live because of their contributions. We are excited to honor them at our Heart of Gold Dinner and Auction and recognize the person who will be chosen as the 2016 First Citizen.”

Proceeds from the event support the numerous projects of the Wilsonville Rotary Foundation, including local omelet breakfasts to raise funds for schools; the Wilsonville Chess Program to help students learn discipline and problem-solving skills; the Through A Child’s Eyes program, a partnership with Coffee Creek Correctional Facility that strengthens families and helps female inmates be better parents both before and after release; producing the free Wilsonville Rotary Summer Concerts for residents and raising funds for polio prevention; college scholarships for Wilsonville high school graduates; international student exchange programs, inbound and outbound, that enrich Wilsonville students and their families; and annual projects that have brought solar energy to Africa and clean water to schools and clinics in the Third World.

The four finalists will be introduced individually at the Heart of Gold event — after a silent auction and throughout an evening that includes a lively auction of big ticket items – and at the end of the evening the First Citizen honor will be awarded to the chosen finalist. Each nominee was selected based on her or his active engagement in the Wilsonville community which improves the lives and well-being of our residents. Details on the finalists include:

John Budiao is currently a Logistics and Readiness Officer with the U.S. Air Force, and the CEO of Military Coach, where he provides motivational speaking and mentoring to future members of the military. John has served in three branches of the military: Marines, Coast Guard, and Air Force. He is a leader and mentor for Wilsonville’s Troop 194’s 50+ Boy Scouts, always demonstrating how he truly cares about the boys and the community.  John received the Certificate of Merit from Boy Scouts, for pulling an unconscious woman from the ocean and performing CPR till paramedics arrived on scene. He also coaches Wilsonville Youth Football. John has been referred to by those who know him as a “selfless servant” because he not only serves his local community, but also his country.  John’s friends and family feel strongly that he is one of the best dads and husbands in the community, even in the face of a military deployment coming in June of 2017.

Kyle Bunch is the immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Wilsonville, and an active volunteer in many other efforts in the city. He has been on city redevelopment committees and is a strong supporter of the economic development and building community assets. Besides his many hours doing volunteer work with the Rotary, and despite having a young family and busy work life, Kyle is also on the executive committee of the Wilsonville Chamber. Kyle’s love of learning and education is apparent in his educational background, which includes an MBA from Trident University International; an M.A. in Secondary Education and Teaching from the University of Portland; a B.S. in Life Science from U.P.; and a B.A. in Theology and Theological Science from U.P. Kyle is a graduate of Canby High School.

Tim Knapp has given 30 years of service to the citizens of Wilsonville since moving to the city in 1986, even prior to serving as City Councilor from 2003-2008, and before his being elected mayor in 2009, and re-elected twice since that time, including recently in November 2016.  His vision for Wilsonville as a connected, supportive community for all its citizens and businesses has been an underlying theme throughout his government and personal work. Tim has worked hard to develop Wilsonville’s position as the most forward looking small city in Oregon. His work has helped Wilsonville to attract numerous high tech and highly regarded consumer companies to the City, while maintaining high ‘smart growth’ standards that ensure the community is environmentally friendly and an attractive place to live with open spaces and numerous parks. Starting in 1999, Tim and his wife Melodee envisioned, planned and constructed the Old Town Village Small Business Center, which houses 15 local businesses providing services to hundreds and hundreds of local families.

Jean Tsokos is a longtime Wilsonville resident, volunteer and role model for community engagement. With more than 20 years of service to the WilsonvilleSTAGE, formerly known as Wilsonville Community Theater, as well as projects that benefit seniors under her belt, Tsokos recently decided to retire and let the next generation of volunteers take over. A native of the Midwest, Tsokos, 85, has been a board member, director and acting instructor of Wilsonville Community Theater, trips coordinator and vice chair of Wilsonville Community Seniors, Inc. (WCSI), and advisory member of the SMART task force, representing Wilsonville seniors, through her past as both a theater and education professional. Tsokos’ earned a degree in conservation education with a minor in theater in 1952. While working at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, she took a job working for Marlin Perkins of Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom,” but more importantly, began her work in community theater, at first simply as a hobby. Soon she was active with the professional children’s theater, which also introduced her to her second husband, Bill Tsokos, a stage manager.  Lots of moves around the Midwest meant that Jean’s involvement in theater was took her across the globe, including Canada, the Cayman Islands and Daytona Beach, Fla., often doing large scale musicals. Her grandson eventually got Jean to move to Oregon in 1989 and she has been an active member of the Wilsonville community since that time.

Several hundred attendees come together each year for the Heart of Gold event, and is one of the top fundraisers in Wilsonville that provide direct funding back to the community in ways that benefit all residents. More information on the Wilsonville Rotary Club can be found at: www.wilsonvillerotary.com.

For those looking ahead to next year, the club is already accepting nominations for the 2017 award, which will be awarded in early 2018. Nominations may be submitted to www.wilsonvillerotary.com/heart/nominate, or sent to president@wilsonvillerotary.com.