WINONA LAKE — Local businesses and individuals were honored at last night’s, Jan. 26, 105th Annual Chamber Membership Awards Dinner, hosted by the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce at the Manahan Orthopedic Capital Center at Grace College.
Randy Lewis, author of “No Greatness Without Goodness,” was the evening’s keynote speaker, introduced by Craig Snow of Silveus Insurance. Lewis joined Walgreen’s in 1992 and went on to pioneer the nog’wog disability initiative, consider “the gold standard of disability employment” by the National Government Association. Lewis’s work was driven by having a son with autism. “People with disabilities await us…they await us to harness their disabilities. More than ever they await us to embrace them as our own.”
Alyssa Lowe, marketing and communications manager for the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce, presented the Ambassador of the Year Award to former Army Captain David Crowell of Vectar OnSite CPA’s.
Marsha Carey, Kosciusko Cares, presented the Young Adult Professional of the Year Award. YAP celebrates business professionals under the age of 40 who are an “active and vital force” in the community. “YAP works on a simple three-tier philosophy: to be leaders in community and the workplace, to socialize and network with others and be philanthropic,” stated Carey. It was awarded to Kevin Hamstra of 1Eighty Design.
President and CEO of the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce Rob Parker presented that Government Excellence Award, sponsored by Zimmer Biomet, to Warsaw City Planner Jeremy Skinner. Mayor Joe Thallemer is quoted as saying, “He simply embodies the talent and temperament to turn vision and ideas into reality. I can’t think of a more outstanding recipient.”
Eric and Tammy Lane, founders of Fellowship Missions, were presented the Making a Difference Award by John Warren of Old National Bank. Fellowship Missions has served over 600 individuals since its founding in April 2010. Some 180 adults and 60 children were served in 2016 alone.
Angie Robbins with PNC Bank presented the award for Health and Wellness in the Workforce to Cardinal Services. Cardinal Services is not only an advocate for people with disabilities, it provides self-funded insurance to its employees and spouses. It promotes overall healthiness with company sponsored activities and free health coaching. Accepting the award were CEO Randy Hall and Vice President for Human Resources Laura Campbell
Clearwater Car Wash, celebrating its one-year anniversary this week, was awarded with the Rising Star Award by Lindy Breeden, market president of Horizon Bank. Clearwater Car Wash is a state of the art carwash established by nine local businessmen. Accepting the award was President and CEO Brian Catron.
Yolanda Hedington of KeyBank presented the KC Recycling Depot with the Environment and Sustainability Award, accepted by Executive Director Shelly Heckert and her two employees Sarah Fruit and Jim Ault.
Lake City Bank sponsored the Business of the Year Award, presented by David Findlay. The winning business, Rice Ford Lincoln and Warsaw Toyota, is owned by partners John and Dan Rice. They started the business 32 years ago with advice from their father, taking a risk and doubling their investment in 2009 at the peak of the recession. “When they took this idea to their mom she said, ‘This is a terrible idea!’…thank Mary Ellen for losing that battle with their father,” joked Findlay.
The last presented awards of the evening were to the Man and Woman of the Year for 2016.
“The man of the year got involved in the community immediately after moving here,” said Doug Baumgardner, First Source Bank, presenting the Man of the Year Award to Ot Schroeder.
Baumgardner introduced Schroeder as an entrepreneur who was involved in the education system, being a founding member of a graduation program to help local graduation rates raising graduation rates from 75 percent to 91 percent. His love of youth led him to the Optimist Club of Warsaw and Octagon Club at Warsaw High School. “He willingly gives up his time and talents and is an exemplary role model for the Warsaw community,” said one nominator.
Schroeder was greeted by a number of friends and family who surprised him for his award acceptance. “A whole lot of you could be standing up here also,” Schroeder commented at the end of his acceptance speech, thanking the community.
The 2016 Woman of the Year Award was sponsored by Times Union and First Source Bank, presented by Gary Gerard of Times Union.
“She’s the last person who desires recognition, though I know of no one who deserves the recognition more,” is how one nominator described the Woman of the Year.
Winner Cindy Zehr has sat on the board of directors for the Kosciusko County Community Foundation and Combined Community Services, she volunteers of with Kosciusko Home Care and Hospice, as well as volunteering with youth and traveling on mission trips to Haiti working with a preventative program for malnutrition.
“Her official volunteer positions have been many of the years, they pale in comparison to her unofficial service to friends, neighbors and strangers,” said Gerard. “One nominator said, ‘I don’t know anyone who is more giving of their time and talent.'”
Zehr runs Kerlin Bus Sales when she’s not volunteering her services.
“This just blows me away, thank you,” said Zehr.