Diamond’s first 100 years

Employees honored at centennial party and open house

ODELL — A hundred-years’ hubbub filled Diamond Fruit Growers packing plant and offices on April 24.

The company celebrated its centennial with an open house attended by several hundred people at Diamond Central plant.

“It just means everything,” Board Chair Linda Gray said of the centennial event.

“It’s something to celebrate,” she said. “With the economy as it’s been, very few companies make it to this age.”

President David Garcia said the company was gratified by the size of the turnout.

Honored employees, Diamond Fruit Company

Here are the Diamond employees honored April 224 and their lengths of service.

54 years — Jack Keller

44 — Ed Coon

40 — Kathryn Widman

39— Elena Gonzalez

38 — Tom Furrow

37 — John Campbell, Raul Oseguera

36 — Linda Kotila, Peggy Coon, Guadalupe Munoz

35 — Garry Rawlings, David Garcia

34 — David Douglas, Mary Crowder

Socorro Verdusco, Michael Hutson, Maria Loza, Jeff Hasagawa

33 — David Mooney, Carmen Cortez, Shelia Long

Antonia Romero, Maria Ramirez-Valdovinos, Guadalupe Cisneros

32 — Maria Villalobos, Amalia Munoz, Jesus Jimenez, Guillermina Salamanca-Sanchez, Victor De La Rosa

31 — Olivia Barajas, Luz Castaneda

30 — Maria Morales, Miguel De La Rosa, Rick Packer, Otilio Gonzalez

Gray, the first woman to serve as DFG board chair, said she asked board members and management to prepare the event and serve the employees and public during the open house, “and everyone was excited to do it.”

“I think that’s kind of a key to how we feel about each other,” Gray said. “We can’t do this without good employees and good employees who’ve been here a long time.”

Garcia led guided tours through the sorting and packing lines, packaging and shipping, and into the deepest recesses of the cold storage facilities, where cold rooms and airtight storage chambers keep fruit throughout the year.

In the warmth of the Diamond lobby, visitors enjoyed displays of photos and memorabilia from over the years, assembled by a committee led by field service representative Cory Yasui.

The community enjoyed fruit slices, fittingly, and chocolate cake, along with barbecued hamburgers, and the employees were treated to a luncheon before the open house. DFG honored 31 employees for longevity (see list below.)

“We had a wonderful employee luncheon and we recognized longevity. They are so humbled by it, and they are here to help us and do the very best job they can, and through the ups and downs for the company we have always asked a lot of the employees and they have always stepped up to the plate,” Gray said, crediting Garcia, “who is very well liked,” for his leadership.

Board member Gordy Sato helped greet the community. Sato, a Parkdale grower, said, “My dad, Ray, served for many years on Diamond’s board of directors, during a tumultuous time, when many unpleasant decisions were made, in order to ensure the consistency and continuity of the company. I have served for many years on the Diamond Fruit’s board of Directors as well, and also have had to make some crucial decisions regarding what was best for our growers, and for Diamond as a company. The loyalty that my dad, along with many other longtime Diamond growers, has carried Diamond through good times and rough times, and brought us to the position that we find ourselves today.

“Diamond Fruit is once again, at the top, and its commitment to quality product, and the ability to change with the times, will carry it forward for another 100 years.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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