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Denenny will receive business chamber’s citizen award

Former Spokane Valley City Councilman Dick Denenny will be given the 2010 Harry E. Nelson Citizen of the Year award during the annual awards gala hosted by the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 22.

Each year’s recipient is selected by previous award recipients, which include former City Council members Diana Wilhite and Mike DeVleming. Valleyfest organizer Peggy Doering received the award in 2009. Denenny was selected for being “a tireless worker for improvements to the city,” according to a Chamber press release.

Denenny said he was honored to learn that he had won the award. “It was nice,” he said. “It really was. I don’t know how else to say it.”

He is a fourth-generation resident of the area and has lived in Spokane Valley since 1976. He’s lived on the same piece of property all those years, but not the same house. His original house burned down two years ago after Denenny tried to put out a cigar in potting soil, which is flammable. “I learned a lesson there,” he said. “It’s embarrassing in some ways. I haven’t had one (a cigar) since.”

Denenny has served on the Mount Spokane Ski Patrol for 32 years and has been a longtime member of Rotary Club No. 21. He served on the Spokane Valley City Council for seven years, electing not to run for another term in 2009. “I think seven years is plenty,” he said. “There’s lots of ways to be involved in the community.”

Serving on the council, and the community boards that came with it, took up a lot of time. “My business suffered,” he said. Denenny has owned an employee benefits company since 1991.

While serving on the council Denenny also served on the boards of the Spokane Transit Authority and the Spokane Regional Health District. He is a past chairman of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on the boards of Spokane Valley Partners, the Inland Northwest Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Spokane Valley Arts Council and Rotary Club No. 21.

In addition to the citizen of the year award, during the Jan. 22 gala the chamber also will be giving out several business of the year awards, the chamber volunteer of the year and the community caring award.