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About the Peirone Prize 

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On the following pages you’ll meet the three Peirone Prize winners for 2012 — three people who are making the Inland Northwest a better place to live. The Peirone name (pronounced “Purr-ohn”) is crucial to The Inlander — Joe and Alice Peirone were my grandparents, and it was their success and generosity that gave Jer and I the opportunity to start the newspaper. Through their kids, my mom Jeanne and my uncle Jim, and through this prize, the Peirone legacy lives on.

This year, our third in awarding the prize, we found 29 deserving finalists, and we settled on three winners — Jamie Borgan, Kat Hall and Mary Charbonneau. Our criteria for the Peirone Prize is that you be making a difference here at a relatively young age (40-ish and under). There are lots of deserving people of all ages, but we want to recognize young role models who are choosing a life of service. We all know that can require personal financial sacrifices, which is why the Peirone Prize comes with a cash honorarium, too.

Joe and Alice Peirone understood sacrifice in the service of a larger goal. Alice grew up near the railroad tracks out west of town; she and her sisters had to run out and stamp out fires sparked from the passing trains on hot, dry days. Joe’s parents were both off-the-boat Italian immigrants, and they ran a family truck farm from Garden Springs. Joe turned that operation into Peirone Produce, which delivers fruits and vegetables around the region to this day. They were married in the depths of the Great Depresssion, yet, despite their success, chicken necks were on the dinner menu well into the 1980s at the Peirone home. Old habits.

Alice is still smiling at age 93; Joe passed away 20 years ago last month. Their name on this prize serves as a reminder of all the Joe and Alices in our lives who gave so much to see future generations and fellow citizens have a better life. It’s an example that lives on in the people who work the front lines of the charities of the Inland Northwest — the people we recognize here in this Give Guide.

Send your Peirone Prize 2013 nominees or thoughts on this Give Guide section to [email protected].

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