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Sherm's stores win Community Applause Awards

The Oregon Bankers Association has named Sherm's Thunderbird Discount Markets and Food 4 Less as recipients of the 2011 Community Applause Awards.

Founded in 1996, the award competition allows banks doing business in Oregon to nominate their business customers in recognition of their service in the community. The Independent Community Banks of Oregon and Oregon Business magazine are co-sponsors of the awards.

Sherm and Wanda Olsrud, owners of Sherm's Thunderbird Markets in Medford, Klamath Falls and Roseburg and Sherm's Food 4 Less in Medford, won in the category of businesses with 50 or more employees. Sherm's was nominated by Linda Couch, senior vice president of sales and service, and Brad Webster, vice president and regional credit administrator, at South Valley Bank & Trust.

During the OBA/ICBO annual winter conference on Dec. 5, OBA President and CEO Linda Navarro presented a commemorative plaque and $1,000 to be donated to a nonprofit organization of the company's choice. Sherm's selected Kids Unlimited.

In a news release from OBA, the Olsruds were described as having "set the gold standard for charitable giving in Southern Oregon for over 60 years."

The release noted that while the Olsruds' contributions vary, they have a special focus on youth-related activities and have established the Olsrud Family Funds for general charitable purposes.

The Olsruds have set up several scholarships and supported local schools and after-school programs for at-risk youths, including a $250,000 donation to Kids Unlimited to build a gymnasium.

For more than 40 years, the Olsruds have attended area 4-H and FFA junior livestock auctions and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to support youths by purchasing animals at the auctions.

They also donated $400,000 to construct a 20,000-square-foot arena at the Jackson County Fairgrounds and are major donors to various food drives sponsored by ACCESS Inc.

Isler CPA of Eugene won in the category of businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Isler encourages and supports volunteer service by giving all owners and employees a minimum of 50 hours of paid time each year for volunteering.

Isler CPA, winner of the small-business category, selected United Way of Lane County.

In 2010, Isler's six owners and 27 employees provided approximately 2,550 hours of community service for which they were paid by the company.