Gardiner's Hardware Hank's own Janice Gardiner was selected as this year's Pine River Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award winner as of Monday, May 13, becoming the 40th annual honoree.
Jay Cline, 2018 award winner, presented Gardiner with the award and a heartfelt speech at the chamber award banquet Monday at the Pine River American Legion.
Gardiner joins the ranks of past winners thanks to a lifetime of hard work, though not all of it was in Pine River. In his speech, prepared with help from her family, Cline said Gardiner moved around often during her childhood, including to Meeker County, Colorado and remote areas where her father's forestry job took them.
She worked during high school at a Dairy Queen and graduated from Colorado State with a degree in music, then already proficient on the piano.
For an improved income, she got certified in truck driving in Florida, and in the 1980s she worked for a mortgage business in loan underwriting and finishing loan documents.
Locally she is known for her constant presence at Gardiner's Hardware on Barclay Avenue in Pine River. She and her husband, Gary, purchased the business from his parents in 1990. Anyone who has needed literally anything from Gardiner's Hardware since then has likely had dealings with Janice.
In addition to being the face of the local hardware store, she has been a member of the Pine River Chamber of Commerce board since 2011 and has been a driving force for city flea markets. Gardiner was humble about receiving the award.
"I don't deserve it," she said. "There are other people who have done way more than me so it's kind of unexpected."
Gardiner said she had not guessed she was this year's winner until Cline mentioned her training to drive a truck. Instrumental in keeping the award a secret was her husband, who did not attend the dinner and instead snuck in the back while she was being introduced. She said if he had come to the dinner she would have known something was up.
Gardiner becomes the fourth Gardiner to win the award. Past winners are her husband, Gary, and Mody Gardiner and Paul Gardiner.
1979, Walt Silbaugh; 1980, Don Lundrigan; 1981, John Rohr; 1982, Al Kline; 1983, James Lien; 1984, Gordon Gilman; 1985, Joseph Dahl; 1986, Mary Ella Galbraith; 1987, Gary Moser; 1988, Paul Gardiner; 1989, Amanda Amy; 1990, John Wetrosky; 1991, John Bueckers; 1992, Jody Osterloh; 1993, Ted Lundrigan; 1994, Dr. Charles Pelzl; 1995, Jackie Wetrosky; 1996, Vic Rinke; 1997, Mike Shamp; 1998, Shirley Nelson; 1999, Brad Swanson; 2000, Joanie Swanson; 2001, Francis Anderson; 2002, Jerry Taylor; 2003, Alan Klocke; 2004, Gary Gardiner; 2005, Chris Hanneken; 2006, Mody Gardiner; 2007, Barb Klocke; 2008, John Stranne; 2009, Mike Griep; 2010, Erv Gravdahl; 2011, Diane Johnson; 2012, Dick Houston; 2013, Chuck Nelson; 2014, Steve Hansen; 2015, Lynn Hunt; 2016, Quinn Swanson; 2017, Ray Schrupp; 2018, Jay Cline; 2019, Janice Gardiner.