When the Chehalis Valley Historical Museum was down on its luck with a growing pile of utility bills recently, Bruce Hooper just took care of it. He didn’t make a big deal. He didn’t want folks to know. He just took the bills and paid them.
That’s just the type of guy the retired teacher and mega community volunteer is — and it’s one of the many reasons the Montesano Chamber of Commerce decided to name him as its Citizen of the Year for 2014.
Hooper will be honored during the Chamber’s annual award ceremony celebrating the best businesses and citizens of the area tonight. The event takes place 7 p.m. at the Moose Lodge in Montesano with a social hour at 6 p.m.
Chamber President Dennis Brumbaugh said that he was announcing Hooper as this year’s winner in hopes that folks will turn out and support the man at the event.
“He has a lot of fans,” Brumbaugh said. “We usually let the announcement be a surprise.”
Hooper, the vice president of the board behind the Chehalis Valley Historical Museum, is also involved with the Montesano Food Bank and is on the Montesano Hall of Fame Committee. He taught for 31 years, of which 20 was at Montesano High School. He also coached cross country and track at the high school for 12 years. A member of St. John’s Catholic Church, he volunteered and painted a renovated rectory and the garage exterior — because he saw a need for it to be done, according to friend Paul Boys.
He’s also been handy and ran his own part-time painting business for 40 years. At the museum, he painted inside the museum and supervised the foundation work, as well as the installation of new siding and new windows.
Hooper’s name may be out there. But Brumbaugh is still leaving it a surprise for the other honorees.
The four finalists for Business of the Year include Pat’s Hair Fashions, Broadway Dental, Marni’s Petal Pushers and Our Community Credit Union. The event will also include the Senior Volunteer of the Year.
Entertainment will be provided by Ken Albert and Christine Hill. Cost is $20 per person. For tickets, call (360) 249-5522 or visit www.montesanochamber.org. Tickets are also available at the door.