Twenty-four years ago, Victor Bueno helped start the Spanish sessions of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association’s annual meeting. They attracted three speakers and 70 people in the audience for a few hours.
Earlier Tuesday, roughly 900 people attend Spanish classes held all day, concurrently with English, at the annual meeting, the tree fruit industry’s annual gathering in Kennewick.
For helping usher in that growth, Bueno on Tuesday evening was named the winner of the organization’s Latino Leadership Award and called for even more togetherness. “I hope in the future we understand deeper that we all need each other,” he said.
Bueno, also a member of the Good Fruit Grower’s Spanish Initiative advisory board, was one of several receiving awards at a banquet.
The Silver Apple Award went to Dan Griffith, a 36-year tree fruit consultant in the Yakima Valley and Columbia Basin. He currently works for G.S. Long Co. and specializes in fertility and alternation management.
Bob Gix, a horticulturist for Blue Star Growers in Cashmere, was named the Silver Pear award winner. He has worked with pear growers for 30 years and serves as the co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Pear Research Sub-Committee and helped create the pear industry’s pest management strategic plan.
The Washington Tree Fruit Distinguished Service Award went to Tom Auvil, a horticulturist with North American Plants who also helps manage his family’s orchard.
Auvil formerly worked for the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and the Trout/Blue Chelan Cooperative. He has been a Tree Top board member since 1988.
Mike Omeg of The Dalles, Oregon, was honored by Good Fruit Grower as 2017 Grower of the Year. He is featured in a package of stories.