Helen Leinbach was chosen Person of the Year by the North Webster-Tippecanoe Township Chamber of Commerce during an awards dinner held Monday evening.
Leinbach has been employed by the North Webster Community Public Library for almost 24 years. She was the only full-time employee, assisted by two part-timers, when she started. The library now has 15 employees.
She stated, “I’m in awe and it couldn’t have happened without by coworkers at the library. I treated them to pizza Tuesday to express my appreciation for their dedication. It was a humbling experience.”
Leinbach noted two pivotal events in the library’s growth under her care. The moving from a small room inside the Tippecanoe Township Building into the North Webster Community Center. “We moved completely in April 2004 with the help of volunteers and it took just three hours. It was amazing. The first year and one-half at the community center, we relied on volunteer staff of about 20 as our tax funds had not been distributed yet.”
The other event was the Tippecanoe Township Advisory Board voting to make the library a tax supported institution in July 2004, putting the local library on an even footing with those in surrounding communities. The library has expanded once in the community center location and now occupies between 9,000 and 10,000 square feet of space.
Besides guiding the public library, Leinbach is a 10-year member of Lakeland Kiwanis Club of North Webster and involved in its activities. She has served on the chamber of commerce board for numerous years where she has held the office of vice president as well.
Small Business of the Year was Stamp-n-Toys while Clayton’s Garden Center took home Large Business of the Year award.
The banquet hall at the North Webster Community Center was filled to the brim with locals representing a wide array of business and industry. After a social hour and dinner catered by The Sleepy Owl, chamber president Sue Ward began by announcing the award winners.
Stamp-n-Toys owners Phil and Jan Biehl have developed a loyal following in their niche markets providing collectible model truck trailers and stamping supplies and information to their many customers over the years. Both have been actively involved in the community. “They are so deserving of Small Business of the Year,” said Ward.
Clayton’s Garden Center is a North Webster institution, spanning four generations. Ward noted, “Whenever we ask, Ed and Judy are there to lend a hand.”
One example is that Clayton’s provides the hanging basket flowers, which are then nurtured by horticulture students at Wawasee High School before brightening North Webster’s downtown. The business has a wide following regionally bringing many people to North Webster to shop.
Speaker for the evening was Don Roulo, who talked on “The Butterfly Effect.” Using the award winners and others as examples, he explained how relationships effect what happens generation to generation.
A chamber board member, he is the CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer) of Life Quest and a career and business coach as well as a Certified 48 Days Workshop Facilitator. He travels nationally and internationally to conduct business and career training as well as marriage and family workshops. Roulo also is a columnist and a radio commentator.
Silent auction winners were announced to conclude the evening.