Manders receives award

Angela Manders

Angela Manders was presented with the Chamber of Commerce’s first-ever Unsung Hero Award for her creative business strategies in the face of a pandemic.

The award was a surprise addition to last week’s community awards ceremony.

Manders serves as the Chamber’s executive director, a role she’s held for seven years.

“We interrupt this regular scheduled program to announce an award that almost wasn’t given. In fact, it’s a new award. An award for somebody who’s never won an award for anything that gets done. It’s the Unsung Hero Award,” said Pierce County Family Connections Coordinator Stephanie Bell.

Bell presented the Chamber’s newest award to Manders at the culmination of the annual ceremony. Due to the pandemic, the ceremony was held virtually via Facebook Live for the second year in a row.

“(This award) is going to the most selfless, caring person. A hometown, Pierce County lover. No matter what she does, it’s always for the good of Pierce County,” Bell said. “Nothing you do (is for) the recognition, but we want to let you know we appreciate you and all the hard work you did during the pandemic to make sure our businesses flourish and didn’t fail ... Through all of this your love of Pierce County was evident and never faltered.”

Manders was stunned, and humbled by the recognition.

“The Chamber has been in a unique, and often difficult, position over the past year. We have been in constant contact with medical, social and economic professionals and have tried to share up-to-date information while putting out fires of disinformation. We have tried to encourage safe and creative business practices. And we have witnessed numerous community members die from COVID or suffer from related health issues and financial burdens,” Manders told The Times. “It has been an exhausting balancing act, but I appreciate those who have put politics aside and have worked together for the long-term health and betterment of our community.”