When the Pasco Senior Center was put up for sale, Senior Life Resources needed a place to cook the thousands meals delivered weekly to homebound Tri-Citians.
Steve and Shirley Simmons, the owners of C.G. Public House, stepped up.
“Not only did they open their doors to help Meals on Wheels, Steve has helped spearhead fundraising to help Meals on Wheels purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars in kitchen equipment,” said Kathy Balcom, a Tri-City advertising executive.
But that is just one of the countless examples of the Kennewick couple’s service to the community that earned them the title Thursday night of 2017 Tri-Citian of the Year.
Balcom, along with the couple’s four grown children, nominated the pair for the region’s top civic honor.
“Steve and Shirley provide continual community support quietly, without any expectation of credit,” Balcom wrote. “They contribute because they genuinely care about this community and making it a better place to call home.”
Steve and Shirley provide continual community support quietly, without any expectation of credit. They contribute because they genuinely care about this community and making it a better place to call home.
Kathy Balcom, nominator
Balcom specifically singled out the couple’s work helping Meals on Wheels while a new facility was built in Richland.
“If not for them ... this program would not have had the ability to feed the hundreds of people that are nourished daily,” said fellow restaurant owner Don Karger, who submitted a letter supporting their nomination.
The two dedicated time, resources and service to more than 45 local organizations, including the Reach center, the Richland Public Facilities District, the Carousel of Dreams, Kids Haven, United Way and the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.
In 2015, they provided Christmas dinner for families spending the holiday in Kadlec Regional Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit.
“Steve and his family set aside a few hours of their Christmas plans to honor the commitment made to the March of Dimes,” Balcom wrote.
The nominators said they exemplify community service to their family, employees, patrons and the community.
They truly understand the needs of the community and the sacrifice it takes to make it work.
Steve Simmons spent years working for Firestone Tire and Service Centers, while Shirley Simmons was a partner in the Country Gentleman restaurant. In 2002, he joined her in the restaurant business. The recently renamed it C.G. Public House.
As business owners, they became active members of Visit Tri-Cities. Steve began serving on the organization’s board of directors in 2015 and worked to advance the tourism industry, said Kris Watkins of Visit Tri-Cities in a letter of congratulations.
“Steve and Shirley Simmons are an incredible team. I recently heard Shirley say, ‘Steve is the meeting-bee and I am the worker-bee,’ wrote Balcom.
“They truly understand the needs of the community and the sacrifice it takes to make it work,” wrote Karger. “I cannot think of two individuals who dedicate more of their time and resources back to the community than these two, while also instilling the importance of community support with their employees and children.”
A list of past Tri-Citians of the Year can be found at tricityherald.com.