Tribal Government & News

96 employees honored for 1,293 years of service

07.07.2022 Danielle Harrison Tribal employees, Years of service
Lead Groundskeeper Greg Leno prepares to be hugged by Tribal Council member Jon A. George after being honored for 34 years of service at uyxat Powwow Grounds on Thursday, June 30, during an employee appreciation event. Ninety-six Tribal employees, all hired in the second quarter of their respective employment year, were honored for a combined 1,293 years of service to the Grand Ronde Tribe. (Photo by Timothy J. Gonzalez)


By Danielle Harrison

Smoke Signals assistant editor/staff writer

For the second time in more than two years, Tribal employees gathered at the Tribe’s years of service awards on Thursday, June 30. It marked the second large in-person gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Ninety-six Tribal employees, all hired in the second quarter of their respective employment year, were honored for a combined 1,293 years of service to the Grand Ronde Tribe at the event, which was held outdoors on a sunny day at uyxat Powwow Grounds. Employees were served boxed lunches and beverages.

The celebration began with an invocation by Tribal Council member Jon A. George. Tribal Council Secretary Michael Langley welcomed employees and said he was happy to have gatherings start up again.

“It’s awesome to do that here at the powwow grounds,” Langley added. “We’re very glad to show our employees recognition. We put a lot into our employees at the Tribe and are super happy when we get to show appreciation with an event like this.”

Other Tribal Council members in attendance included Kathleen George and Michael Cherry, who both congratulated employees after they received years of service awards.

The Lenos led the way with Lead Groundskeeper Greg Leno reaching 34 years, Housing Department Maintenance Coordinator Lonnie Leno hitting 32 years while Member Services Benefits Administrator Liz Leno notched 30 years and Housing Department Manager Shonn Leno was recognized for 28 years.

Also in the 20-year plus club were A/V Network Technician Wendell Olson, 28 years; Human Resources Specialist Cindy Mitchell and Fish and Wildlife Program Manager Kelly Dirksen, 26 years; Education Department Manager Angela Fasana and Tribal Council Senior Administrative Assistant Lauri Smith, 25 years; Children & Family Services Supervisor Kristi Petite, Gaming Commission Executive Assistant Kathy Doane and Senior Staff Attorney Deneen Aubertin Keller, 24 years; Publications Production Specialist Justin Phillips and Senior Network Administrator Jack Dobiash, 23 years; General Manager David Fullerton, Lands Project Administrator Brandy Humphreys and COVID Assistance Case Worker Tara Leno, 21 years; and Great Circle Recovery clinic employee Christopher Martin and Early Childhood Education Instructional Assistant Roxanne Moniz, 20 years.  

Other employees honored included:

19 years: Natural Resources Department Manager Colby Drake, Gaming Inspector Kary Turner and Cultural Education Specialist Cristina Lara. 

18 years: Cultural Resources Department Manager David Harrelson, Children & Family Services Intake Specialist Donna Johnson, Family Services Coordinator Audra Sherwood and Peer Support Specialist Sydney Clark.

17 years: Medical Receptionist Tina Leno, Early Head Start Teacher Jessica Cruickshank and Member Services Enrollment Coordinator Tisha Pellett.

16 years: Housing Maintenance Technician Randy Bean, Gaming Commission Director Tanner Fish, Native Plant Nursery Supervisor Jeremy Ojua, Adult Foster Care Caregiver Anna Huston and Early Head Start Home-Based Visitor Shelley Clift.

15 years: Adult Foster Care Caregiver Carmen Parren, Senior Forester Andrew Puerini and Biologist Matthew Zimbrick.

14 years: Chinuk Language Program Manager Ali Holsclaw, Gaming Commission Background Investigator Nicholas Bailey and Children & Family Services Caseworker George Neujahr.  

13 years: Certified Medical Assistant Dana Seagrove and Fire Supervisor Jim Pinder.

12 years: Restoration Ecologist/Policy Analyst Lindsay McClary, Realty Specialist Teresa Brocksen, Dentist Erin Lange, Health Promotion Specialist Tammy Leno, TERO Compliance Officer Duke Kimsey and Youth Tobacco Prevention Coordinator Shannon Stanton.  

11 years: Homeownership Coordinator Michele Plummer, Native Connections Coordinator Amber Mercier, Silviculture/Fire Protection Technician Daniel Schramm and Maintenance Technician Robert Wiggs.

10 years: Youth Enrichment Program Manager Tim Barry, Tribal Council Coordinator Chelsea Baranski, Groundskeeper Brady Bruckner, Youth Education Program Manager Justine Flynn, TERO Secretary Kristina Summers, Early Childhood Education Family Partnership Specialist Denaee Towner, Youth Enrichment Coordinator Kyla McCallister, Treasury Manager DeAnne Norton and Silviculture and Fire Protection Technician Gabriel Synegal.

9 years: Recreation Coordinator Leo Ayala-Guillen, Tribal Security Lead Officer Ronald Wellborn, Maintenance Technician James Byars Jr. and Historic Preservation Technician Nicolas Atanacio.

8 years: Grand Ronde Tribal Police Department Lt. Tim Hernandez, Program Accountant Michael Hubbard, Staff Attorney Holly Partridge, Senior Records Clerk Emma Leno, Pharmacy Technician Randi Keyser-Crocker and Early Head Start Teacher Hannah Sabey.  

7 years: ERSEA Coordinator Dawn Doar, Cultural Protection Specialist Dustin Hawks, Clinical Nurse Manager Christa Hosley, Housekeeper Sabrina Labonte, Aftercare Educator Holly Marler, Groundskeeper Youvani Ring, Aquatic Biologist Brandon Weems, Gaming Commission Licensing Application Specialist Joel Greer and Bus Driver Heidi Whittington.

6 years: GIS Coordinator Alex Drake, Tribal Council Administrative Assistant Shannon Ham-Texeira, EHA Family Educator Tammy Fisher, Early Childhood Education Teacher Griselda Perez-Bravo, Emergency Operations Coordinator Steve Warden and Tribal Employment Rights Office Director Harris Reibach.

5 years: Human Resources Director Sarah Harvey, Chinuk K-5 Immersion Assistant Kayla Grijalva, Early Childhood Education Data Specialist Dana Morfin, Cultural Protection Coordinator Cheryl Pouley, Swing Shift Housekeeper Aaron Alvarado-Anderson, Great Circle Recovery Senior Administrative Assistant Tajia Ulestad, Cook Joshua Baker, Field Biologist Kyle McLaughlin, Silviculture/Fire Prevention Technician Waylon Rich and Equipment Operator Timothy Lane.

Raffles were conducted during the event and included additional administrative leave and cash drawings for $50 to $500.

Employees recognized during the awards received an additional bonus check and those reaching the 10-year mark also received a Tribal Pendleton blanket or $100.

After the Years of Service event concluded, employees were dismissed with pay for the remainder of the day.