Tribe honors 75 employees for years of service; Leno reaches 30-year mark

By Danielle Frost

Seventy-five employees were honored on Thursday, June 7, for a combined 989 years of service to the Grand Ronde Tribe during a lunchtime barbecue picnic held in the Tribal gym.

Sixteen employees were honored for serving 20 or more years, led by Lead Groundskeeper Gregg Leno, who hit the 30-year mark. He is only the second Tribal employee ever to achieve the three-decade mark in employment with the Tribe.

Tribal Adult Education Coordinator Tracy Biery hugs Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George as she is honored for her 27 years of service to the Tribe during the quarterly Years of Service Awards held at the Tribal gym on Thursday, June 7. On the left is Tribal Council member Kathleen George. (Photo by Auburn Logan)

Other employees who have reached or surpassed two decades of Tribal service included Housing Department Maintenance Coordinator Lonnie Leno, 28 years; Adult Education Coordinator Tracy Biery and General Manager’s Office Administrative Assistant Barbara Branson, 27 years; Member Services Benefits Administrator Liz Leno, 26 years; Dental Director Eric Webster, 23 years; Human Resources Specialist Cindy Mitchell and Fish and Wildlife Program Manager Kelly Dirksen, 22 years; Tribal Court Administrator Angela Fasana, Tribal Council Senior Administrative Assistant Lauri Smith and Information Systems Operations Manager William Kephart, 21 years; and Children & Family Services Supervisor Kristi Petite, Gaming Commission Executive Assistant Kathy Doane, Senior Staff Attorney Deneen Aubertin Keller, Housing Department Manager Shonn Leno and Human Resources Training Specialist Vickie Hernandez, 20 years.

The ceremony honored employees hired in the second quarter of the year between April and June.

Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George gave the invocation before employees were served hot dogs, hamburgers, potato and pasta salad, chips, watermelon and cookies for lunch.

Tribal Council members Brenda Tuomi, Kathleen George, Michael Langley and Denise Harvey also attended.

This year’s event had a new twist in that all employees were invited to spend the morning participating in a community cleanup effort at 10 different sites around Grand Ronde. All staff were excused with administrative leave at the conclusion of the service awards for the remainder of the day. 

“It is so wonderful to see this room filled with employees,” Kathleen George said. “The reason that we do this is to let you know how much we appreciate what you do, no matter where you do it. You make this Tribe happen.”

Other employees honored were:

19 years: Publications Production Specialist Justin Phillips and Purchased/Referred Care Supervisor Melody Baker.

18 years: Swing Shift Housekeeping Supervisor Ben Bishop.

17 years: General Manager David Fullerton, Natural Resources Department Secretary Mary Leith and Staff Accountant Amy Gallant.

16 years: Procurement Manager Larry Leith, 477/Employment & Training Specialist Chris Martin and Early Childhood Instructional Assistant Roxanne Moniz.

15 years: Applications Administrator Candice Olsen, Silviculture and Fire Protection Manager Colby Drake, Elders Activity Center Cook Michael Burton and Gaming Inspector Kary Turner.

14 years: Senior Human Resources Generalist Steve O’Harra, Children and Family Services Intake Specialist Donna Johnson and Family Services Coordinator Audra Sherwood.

13 years: Help Desk Technician Sean O’Leary.

12 years: Housing Maintenance Technician Randy Bean, Gaming Commission IT Network Analyst Tanner Fish, Health Information Technician Leanna Norwood, Silviculture/Fire Protection Technician Jeremy Ojua, Post Treatment Counselor Chris Holliday, Adult Foster Care Caregiver Anna Huston and Early Head Start Home-Based Visitor Shelley Clift.

11 years: Adult Foster Care Caregiver Carmen Parren and Gaming Commission Licensing Manager Tisha Pellett.

10 years: Gaming Commission Executive Director Michael Boyce, Chinuk Language Program Manager Ali Holsclaw, Home Ownership Coordinator Victoria Jones, Senior Records Clerk Dalette Remington-Nash, Spirit Mountain Community Fund Director Mychal Cherry, Spirit Mountain Community Fund Program Coordinator Angela Sears and Gaming Commission Background Investigator Nicholas Bailey

9 years: Adult Foster Care Caregiver Ardyth Hoffer-Hallicola, Certified Medical Assistant Dana Seagrove and Head Start Teacher/Education Coordinator Kristina Jaquith.

8 years: Wildlife Biologist Lindsay Belonga, Senior Forester Zach Haas, Realty Specialist Teresa Clay, Dentist Erin Lange, Lead Maintenance Technician Andrew Freeman, Health Promotion Specialist Tammy Leno and Adult Foster Care Caregiver Ginger Whitman.

7 years: Rental Housing Assistant Michele Plummer, Behavioral Health Director Jan Kaschmitter, Silviculture/Fire Supervisor Jim Pinder and Youth Programs Assistant Shannon Stanton.

6 years: Vocational Rehabilitation Administrative Assistant Rhonda Leno, Youth Education Program Manager Tim Barry, Dental Secretary Carrie Brooks, Public Affairs Administrative Assistant Chelsea Clark, Chinuk Immersion Teacher Justine Flynn, Gaming Commission Receptionist Kristina Summers, Early Childhood Education Program Assistant Denaee Towner, K-5 Tutor/Adviser Kyla McCallister and Budget Manager DeAnne Norton.

5 years: Adult Foster Care Caregiver Brianna Leno, Applications Administrator Jose Luna, Tribal Police Officer Ronald Wellborn and Youth Education Elementary K-5 Lead Devin Boekhoff.

Employees received bonus checks and those reaching the 10-year mark in service had the option of receiving a Tribal Pendleton blanket or an extra $100 in their bonus check.

The service awards ended with the raffling off of prizes that included a suitcase, car care package, coffee gift cards, hammock, waterproof speaker, weed eater, Regal Cinemas gift cards, Amazon gift cards and additional administrative time off.