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Paul Pippenger receives Hometown Hero award

Paul Pippenger was recognized Wednesday as the Inland Northwest Partners Hometown Hero by Mike Tatko, Regional Business Manager for Avista.

This honor comes from an economic development group called The Inland Northwest Partners, which is a non-profit group focused on enhancing the long-term vitality of eastern Washington and northern Idaho. The group facilitates knowledge-sharing to build a strong economic base among member communities.

At the group's November meeting in Hayden Lake, Loren Whitten-Kaboth, Clearwater County Economic Development Specialist, accepted an award for Pippenger who was unable to be in attendance. He was at Orofino Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday, so he was honored there in front of his peers.

He was nominated by both Whitten-Kaboth and Hank Ebert, who is this region's representative from the Idaho Department of Commerce. The nomination, in part, read like this:

"Our Hometown Hero award winner is considered to be the premiere visionary of his community. This vision comes from knowing that one of the best ways to increase the success of his businesses is to keep the economy vibrant by assisting others to be successful in their businesses. One out of every four people in the community works for, rents from, or works in one of his holdings - which include the Best Western Lodge, the local commercial business park, the renovation of the Barnett Thompson building into condos and commercial spaces, the junior high renovation, the local retirement facility, the Health and Welfare Building, the RV Park - and the list goes on.

This award winner is has also been recognized five times by the Rotary Foundation with the Paul Harris Fellowship Award in recognition of his efforts to go above and beyond to make his community a better place," the nomination added."

Several land donations have also been made to the community of Orofino by the family:

  • 2.2 acres for two Little League fields off Riverside Ave: Orofino Rotary Field and VFW Field
  • Heritage Park, the Chamber of Commerce Park at the crossing into town with the large bronze logger statue by local artist John Gilliam that the whole community donated to help build.
  • Memorial Park, a children's park on upper Michigan across from Adams Rd. overlooking Orofino Creek. There is a playground, large gazebo, tables for seating, ample parking and two restrooms.
  • Kiwanis Park on Johnson Ave. next to Orofino Creek

Pippenger said he has just tried to do what his father told him: "You help take care of Orofino, our little town, and it will take care of you, your children and grandchildren for years to come."

He also said credit also goes to his wife, family and employees.

Educational meetings, programs and seminars are the core offering of Inland Northwest Partners. These forums provide a means to share ideas and experiences and forge new partnerships. Topics include technology, financing community initiatives, forging regional partnerships, local business expansion and retention, job recruit and much more.

More than 300 business and community leaders from eastern Washington and northern Idaho are members.

Avista is a major funder of the group, and the group's geographic area is similar to our service area, from Grangeville north to almost the Canadian border and into Washington state as far west as Othello.

The group meets four times a year, and at our final meeting each year, we present Hometown Hero Awards, awards that have been handed out for more than 25 years to deserving organizations and individuals who have gone above and beyond in supporting the economic growth of communities in the Inland Northwest.

Besides a plaque, Inland Northwest Partners also provided Pippenger with a hotel/dinner package to the Davenport Hotel in Spokane.

Photo: Mike Tatko (left) presents the Hometown Hero award to Paul Pippenger.

Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
Fax: (208) 476-4140