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The Annual Community Awards, Presented by Gesa Credit Union has been celebrating Walla Walla Valley’s citizens, organizations, and businesses since 1884. Each year, we honor our Hometown Heroes who work tirelessly to ensure we have access to the best quality of life possible.

The Community Awards are presented in person at our January Chamber Connect Lunch which is held the third Wednesday in January.


Educator of the Year

The purpose of the Educator of the Year Award is to recognize excellence in the teaching profession and to inform our community of the exceptional quality of instruction delivered in the Walla Walla Valley.

Nominations are now being accepted through Friday, December 2nd.

Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

The Nick Henzel Community Service Award recognizes the significant contributions, character and dedication of an individual. Law Enforcement Officers serve their communities in many different ways; they monitor criminal activity, take part in community patrols, respond to emergency calls, and much more including being role models of community responsibility. This award is to be presented to an Officer who has distinguished himself/herself through outstanding performance above and beyond the call of duty through service to their community.


Firefighter of the Year

The Firefighter of the Year award recognizes the significant contributions, achievements, character and long-term dedication of an individual. Firefighters serve their communities in many different ways; responding to emergencies, organizing safety events, and being role models of community responsibility. The candidate must demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to firefighting


Walla Walla University, Whitman College and Walla Walla Community College present and celebrate outstanding individuals within their communities.


2021 Educator of the Year

Connor Fish, Garrison Middle School


2021 Law Enforcement Officers of the Year

Sergeant Eric Knudson, Walla Walla Police Department

Officer Nat Small, Walla Walla Police Department


2021 Firefighter of the Year

Lieutenant Paramedic Chris Worden


2021 Higher Education Community Service Award

Nadine Stecklein, Walla Walla Community College

Steve Rose, Walla Walla University

Jim Russo, Whitman College

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