(Update: adding video and comments from Collins)
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Athletic Officials Association has announced its first awards for officials of the year -- and two Central Oregon referees, Chuck Aldred and Nathaniel Collins, have received top honors.
“I was honored -- and honestly, I was stumped for words on it,” Collins told NewsChannel 21 on Thursday.
Collins and Aldred received the honor over more than 1,000 other football and soccer referees in the state.
Collins has been a referee in Central Oregon since he was 17 years old. He's been a referee for baseball, basketball and soccer. He's receiving this year's award as best soccer official in the state.
Aldred, meanwhile, has been recognized as this year's best football referee in the state.
“We’d like them to feel as special as they are," said Debi Hanson, the associate executive director at OAOA. "There’s no real recognition of officials.”
Each referee was nominated by their sports commissioner and voted as top referee by each sports committee. Aldred and Collins will be rewarded with a plaque and have next season's referee dues paid.
“It’s not just about how good you are, but also how committed you are,” Collins said.
Collins, who just had his third child, told NewsChannel 21 he'll continue being a ref for as long as he can.
Aldred will be honored at Saturday's 3A semi-final football game between Vale and South Umpqua at Caldera High School at 10 a.m.