Golden Knuckle Award (aka Gizmo)

“You pay to give it and not to get it!”

At the 1987 Spring Conference, Pat Napolitano, a past president (1985) presented to the then-President Hugh Kalani a big, rusty “hunk of iron” which was actually a part of a train-coupling mechanism that Pat had scrounged from the railroad yards near Hermiston. President Hugh embellished the award by adding steel wheels that came from an “antique” International truck.

The award was later named the “Golden Knuckle Award,” but it is best known by its nickname – The Gizmo. At every spring and fall conference, a “lucky” chapter member receives the Gizmo and adds his or her own embellishments to it. In 1993, Larry Rice, award recipient, requested that the chapter turn the award into a fundraiser for the Oregon APWA Education Foundation. Over the years it has raised more than $500,000 for scholarships.

The list of “winners” reads like a Who’s Who of chapter history, and the embellishments catalog 30 years of culture and 60 versions of personal taste.

At the center of the fundraiser concept is “you pay to give it and not to get it!” There is a minimum contribution of $10 (included in conference registration). You get “points” depending on the level of your contribution The more dollars, the more points. You apply the points to the name(s) of the person(s) you want to receive the award. The person with the most points at the end of the conference takes home the award. In the event of a tie, the immediate past recipient will make the winning determination.

Previous Winners:

Spring 2023 – Barbara Duda

Fall 2022 – Jennifer Garbely, Wine bottle with Milwaukie City stickers

Spring 2022 – Leslie Finnigan, A Bundle of Sticks (represents property rights)

Fall 2021 – Tim Blackwood, A hat and hand sanitizer

Spring 2021 – Sue Nelson, A few stickers – Halloweentown, City of St. Helens, Public Works First Responder, and “I got my COVID shot”. A winged pumpkin on a  stand. A copy of the movie Halloweentown. Brand new, for the next lucky Gizmo recipients to watch!

Fall 2020 – Shannon Williams, “Wings” (crutches, a license plate and hydro-dipped painted parts – think tie-dyed)

Fall 2019/Spring 2020 – Laurie Allen Face mask; ACMS sticker

Spring 2019 – Doug Singer, 2019 PWX T-shirt flag; PAWS stuffed animal

Fall 2018 – Fred Wismer, Kittelson bike bell and wagon (Gizmo Jr.)

Spring 2018 – Dayna Webb, Oregon City trolley sign

Fall 2017 – Ashley Cantlon, Safety jacket

Spring 2017 – Ken Stoneman, Let ‘er Buck saddle

Fall 2016 – Krey Younger, “Krey”fish hat

Spring 2016 – Delora Kerber, City of Wilsonville emergency kit

Fall 2015 – Jenifer Willer, Red, white and blue star garland and City of Eugene sticker

Spring 2015 – Tony Roos, Yellow penalty flag and “Not Hazardous Waste” sticker

Fall 2014 – Nikki Messenger, Hashtag sign and metal letter hanging off a engineer’s scale spelling out “Oregon APWA”
Old Gizmo and all its trappings “retired” in Pendleton; new Gizmo signals the start of a new era

Spring 2014 – Troy Bowers, “Go Beavs” sign and cowboy hat

Fall 2013 – Gordon Munro, An OSU gnome

Spring 2013 – John Lewis, Wagon bonnet and Oregon City pin

Fall 2012 – Nancy Kraushaar, City of Wilsonville pen

Spring 2012 – Terry Song, Cal Poly Pomona golf balls

Fall 2011 – Mark Schoening, Bike light with battery pack, handle bar tape and an odometer

Spring 2011 – Todd Watkins, “No parking (except for Gizmo)” sign

Fall 2010 – Bob Patterson, Pendleton Rodeo centennial bumper sticker, “mophead” membrane

Spring 2010 – Les Miller, Bundle of sandbags different sizes and colors

Fall 2009 – Mike Bisset, “Russ Thomas Was Here” baseball

Spring 2009 – Ron Kampe, Hard hat with “embedded” Russ Thomas baseball

Fall 2008 – Paul Shirey, Milwaukie street sign

Spring 2008 – Russ Thomas, Two deer decoy horns, 6 foot string of 2 buck chuck wine corks

Fall 2007 – Peggy Keppler, Magic 8-ball

Spring 2007 – Lila Bradley, Tsunami siren, evacuation sign

Fall 2006 – Jim Carnahan, Flashing traffic cone with DEA logo on the front light

Spring 2006 – Pete Capell, A “Washington-ified” version of the aging Gizmo

Fall 2005 – Greg Miller, Updated Sprint cell phone service

Spring 2005 – Don Schut, ‘For Sale’ sign

Fall 2004 – Kurt Corey, Montana license plate

Spring 2004 – Gregg Weston, Hand-held calculator and metric conversion book

Fall 2003 – Ted Kyle, Drain and “s” trap

Spring 2003 – Rick Olson, Concrete cylinders

Fall 2002 – Dave Haskell, Golf club

Spring 2002 – Terry Chamberlin, Ball cap

Fall 2001 – Stephanie Reid, Downspout

Spring 2001 – Eric Jones, Liberty Bell & bulldog cup cooler

Fall 2000 – Ron Polvi, Stick horse with “call before you dig” bag

Spring 2000 – Gordon Merseth, Hard hat

Fall 1999 – Mary Meloy, Postcard of Central Oregon on a silver chain

Spring 1999 Mike McKilip Fishing net

Fall 1998 – Jerry Odman, Cowboy safety boots

Spring 1998 – Paul Klope, Electric fan, metrification kit & umbrella lettering

Fall 1997 – Lance Burke, Dignity, integrity & class

Spring 1997 – Les Lyle, Weather vane (“Winds of Change”)

Fall 1996 – Steve Baker, Mystery attachment

Spring 1996 – Dan Boss, 40 black balloons

Fall 1995 – Jeanne Nyquist, Life vest & flashing light

Spring 1995 – Lori Faha, “Golden” storm drain stencil

Fall 1994 – Chris Bowles, Water meter and faucet

Fall 1993 – Larry Rice,Seat belt & Education Foundation Award Program

Spring 1993 – Brenda Brown, High-tech Global Positioning System (GPS)

Fall 1992 – Gordon Wyatt, New rubber tires and wheels, umbrella & shades

Spring 1992 – Danna Barnhart, Travel kit

Fall 1991 – Bill Blum, Bigfoot gas pedal

Fall 1990 – Dave Vargas, Cellular phone & new corkscrew gearshift handle

Spring 1990 – Gene Appel, Food tray & water bottle

Fall 1989 – Merle Langley, Horn

Fall 1988 – Bob Adams, Joggers light and APWA license plate

Spring 1988 – Pat Napolitano, Tail light

Fall 1987 – Jeff Ballard, Seat

Spring 1987 – Hugh Kalani, Ferry trolley wheels, gear shift & braker lever


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