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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 

Simply the best


At a recent conference in Kennewick, Wash., two local stars from our school district were honored with high awards. I had the honor and privilege of being on hand when these two powerful superstars in education received their hardware from the elite in the Public School Employees Annual Conference. Our school was definitely well represented, and our school has been put on the map by these two outstanding classified employees.

Aaron Derr received the President’s Award for his hard work and dedication to not only the students of Lake Roosevelt, but also the staff that he fights for and supports daily. Aaron has been the PSE union president for many years and has brought it into a fighting force for employee rights in the district. His passion for being an advocate for students is only equaled by his tenacity for making sure the district administrators are fair and follow contracts in place. He has also been a voice for the union in school board meetings and gatherings of personnel, even when it was not the popular thing to do.

While doing all of this, Aaron has been on the Electric City council, bringing that same fiery leadership to that organization. If that was not enough, he is putting himself through school to become a teacher and raising some great boys right here in the Coulee, also while supporting his wife and others. Aaron is a true teacher and friend to many of us in the community, and the recognition is well deserved and overdue. Aaron was one of 11 in the state to receive this honor this year and was surprised at the conference awards banquet with the honor. He thought he was there to help present another winner, but when his name was called as a winner, well, let’s just say it was great to see his reaction.

The other winner was my wife, Karrie Utz. She won PSE Employee of the Year. You might remember her being presented locally a few months back, but the unveiling of her video and to the rest of the union was one to be remembered. There was not a dry eye among the 600-plus members gathered, and if there was a holdout, her acceptance speech finished the job. Her video can be seen on the PSE of Washington Facebook page or among the 50-plus shares and 4,000 views it had already had upon writing this. But her speech was one of thankfulness and faith. She brought to the forefront of what makes her passionate and caring for every student she encounters. She also spoke of the difficult times she has braved as a school district employee, and how prayer, faith and a love for kids has driven her to stay firm in her convictions. I encourage you to watch the video and let her inspire you like she did the many who came up to her after the ceremony to congratulate her and tell her that.

It was a very cool and inspiring night for the Grand Coulee Dam District. We had employees honored at a very high level and it can only pour over onto other employees and the ultimate goal: on the students who walk the halls where these awesome individuals and educators work. They are both an inspiration to me and to many others. It was epic to see these two humble people being treated like superstars of their profession. That is because they are. These are the type of people we want influencing or students and we want to keep right here between the walls of the Coulee.

No matter what the future holds for these two, they are rising fast in the education world and I am certain this is not the last time they are honored or that you see their names in lights. Congrats to Aaron Derr and Karrie Utz; it is well deserved, and I am lucky to know you both.

If you would like to support the students of Lake Roosevelt, there will be a Stuff the Bus event on Aug. 17 in front of the old Variety Store. The school will be collecting school supplies and other stuff for students and passing out the goods at the back-to-school barbecue. Help us fill the school bus for our kids and come talk to Karrie and Aaron about their night of recognition. Look for more information in this paper and on Facebook events. Thank you.


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