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Stemilt Growers undertakes multiple charitable efforts

Wenatchee, WA-based Stemilt Growers recently completed two charitable efforts. The company has donated to a scholarship fund and raised money to fund the American Cancer Society.



Kyle Mathison and Jay Fulbright of Stemilt Growers presented Washington Apple Education Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Witherbee with a check for $8,500 July 5. The funds for the check came from the proceeds of the third-annual Thomas K. Mathison Memorial Golf Tournament, which was held May 19 in Wenatchee.

WAEF is the charitable organization of the Washington tree fruit industry. It oversees more than 150 scholarships each year, including the Thomas K. Mathison Memorial scholarship.

According to Jay Fulbright, vice president of operations at Stemilt, a record 29 teams participated in the golf tournament, which raised funds for the scholarship named after Stemilt’s late founder, Tom Mathison. The tournament also received overwhelming sponsorship support from many local and regional companies.

“Though Tom spent most of his time in an orchard, on a fruit packingline or at the office, he also enjoyed the game of golf. This tournament is a great way to bring together our employees, growers and industry affiliates to raise money for a cause that Tom felt so passionately about: providing education opportunities to students in our community,” Mr. Fulbright said in a July 5 press release.

According to Ms. Witherbee, approximately 419 students throughout eastern Washington applied for 155 scholarships totaling $425,000 in 2011. WAEF selected and awarded 139 of those students with scholarships to use at the college of their choice. Among these students was Flor Maldonado of Tonasket, WA. Ms. Maldonado received the 2011 Thomas K. Mathison Memorial scholarship, totaling $5,000. She will use the award at Washington State University this fall and hopes to return to her family orchard and work in fruit exporting in the future.

“WAEF would not exist if it weren’t for the generosity of the tree fruit industry and companies like Stemilt,” Ms. Witherbee said in the release. “This support for education is not only appreciated, but very much needed. With college tuition on the rise, every penny matters to students like Flor.”

G&P Orchards took first place at this year’s tournament. Team members were Andy Gale, Lee Gale, Dave Piepel and Greg McPherson. Stemilt hopes to have an even bigger turnout at next year’s tournament and will be preparing ahead of time to accommodate a larger group.

Stemilt has extended its gratitude to the following companies for sponsoring the tournament: Plumbco, Shippers Choice, Charlie’s Produce, Wells Fargo, A&W Paving, Moss-Adams LLP, SeaGate Produce, Bank of America, Fresh Pacific, Wilbur-Ellis, Go USA, Doubl-Kold, Boise, Flynn Packaging, Van Whole Produce, Kibble & Prentice, H.R. Spinner, Chelan Transfer Co., Able Freight Services Inc., R.E. Powell Distributing Co., Shiftlett’s Inc., Valley Tractor Rentals, Four Points Transportation LLC, Van Doren Sales, G.G. Richardson, The Wash Station LLC, Crunch Pak, Sea & Air Transport, Midland Trucking, Fasteners Inc., Dovex, Keyes Packaging Group, Pandol, Rainier West Inc., Eagle Systems Inc., Amerigas, Excel Fruit, Jetstream Freight Forwarding Inc., Wings Brokerage Inc., M.G. Wagner Co., Bethlehem Construction, Schmitt Electric, Michelsen Packaging Co., and Agrimax International.


Cancer research

On June 17-18, a group of Stemilt employees hit the track for the annual Chelan & Douglas County Relay for Life, which celebrates cancer survivors, remembers those that have lost a cancer battle, and raises money to fund the research and programs of the American Cancer Society.

According to team captain Kristi Hawk, the Stemilt Relay for Life team raised a grand total of $5,832 through a number of different fundraisers, including a yard sale, pancake breakfast, raffles and on-line donations. The team placed third in overall funds raised and helped bring the Chelan-Douglas County Relay for Life grand total to $148,431. This is the second year that Stemilt has put together a Relay for Life team.

Several members of Stemilt’s sales and marketing team participated on the Relay for Life: Ms. Hawk, Stephanie Chance, Tina Sarmiento, Rachel Spanjer and her daughter Jade Fulbright, Sherri Delaney, Dana Hall, and President West Mathison.

Ms. Spanjer, a Stemilt salesperson, walked the Relay for Life track in a purple survivor shirt. She underwent cancer treatment in 2010 but is now cancer-free.

“Cancer never sleeps, that is what the relay is all about,” Ms. Hawk said in a July 1 press release. “We all know someone that has been impacted by cancer in one way or another. It means so much knowing that the funds our team raised go back to our community in order to help patients and their families in the fight against cancer.”

Stemilt is already looking forward to participating in next year’s relay and hopes to fundraise throughout the year to beat the amount it raised this year.