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'You all make a difference'

by CAROLYN BOSTICK
Staff Writer | January 26, 2024 1:06 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — The Hayden Chamber of Commerce awarded its President/CEO Award to Stacie and Kevin Ward and the Business of the Year Award to TDS during a meeting Thursday at the Best Western Plus Coeur d'Alene Inn.

The intended recipient of the chamber's Volunteer of the Year Award was unable to attend Thursday, so the chamber board postponed the announcement until the February meeting. 

Chamber President and CEO Andrea Fulks opened the meeting with a hope that friendships as well as business partnerships can be forged through the Chamber’s events over the year.

“You all matter. You all make a difference. Your great generosity has a profound and lasting impact on the Hayden Chamber and the area,” Fulks said.

In her estimation, sharing time and talents with the community through everyday business interactions and beyond isn’t something to be taken lightly.

“I invite all of you to make connections, be active, believe in what you’re doing and believe in us to help you along the way,” Fulks said.

Stacie and Kevin Ward's restaurant and catering businesses have evolved and changed over the years with Stacie’s Cakes, Gathered — A Family Restaurant and Purple Onion Catering. Fulks pointed out that the family works together and lives together, keeping many complicated pieces together in a degree of harmony that was wonderful to behold.

“In 2020, in the midst of the no gathering order during COVID, they opened a new restaurant, who does that?” Fulks said.

If the Chamber needed sponsorship, the Wards were there. They would donate food if the community needed someone to step up.

Fulks said Stacie Ward is always looking for new, more efficient ways to streamline operations and Kevin Ward can’t help himself from coming out of the kitchen to check on patrons, even if he’s in the process of cooking their meals.

Stacie was visibly moved by receiving the award and quickly handed the microphone off to Kevin, who couldn’t resist cracking a joke.

“We’ve got to get back to work, I’m sorry,” Ward said with a grin.

TDS received Business of the Year, which was accepted by Sandy Raudebaugh. 

Fulks said that, above all else, TDS Telecommunications has been devoted to bringing advanced technology in the form of high-speed internet with wireless broadband to smaller communities and forging deeper connections, “investing in those communities.” 

Whether it’s through scholarships, sponsorships or other efforts to deeply root in the area, Fulks said TDS has invested to make the towns they call home thrive.

Similarly, Fulks said that in the five years that Sandy Raudebaugh has been with TDS Telecommunications, she has also made positive ripples by helping others. 

“TDS recognizes small town values while they build something big that will serve our community for years to come,” Fulks said.


    Hayden Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Andrea Fulks addresses the crowd during the Business Excellence Awards for the Hayden Chamber of Commerce Thursday.
 
 
    Sandy Raudebaugh of TDS Telecommunications accepted the Business of the Year Award from the Hayden Chamber of Commerce.