WINONA LAKE — The Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce applauded the efforts of a local farmer as well as a champion of diversity at its 107th Annual Chamber Awards Dinner Thursday night, Jan. 31.
The event, held at Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center, showcased numerous local leaders and businesses. The highlight of the event was the naming of Bob Bishop as Man of the Year and Marlene Mulero-Betances as Woman of the Year.
Doug Baumgardner from 1st Source Bank read the presentation of Bishop’s award. “His family has farmed in this county since 1833,” said Baumgardner. Bishop has had his hands in not only farming, but trucking and education, having spent time as an elementary school teacher. Bishop is also a philanthropist, along with his wife, serving as a champion against hunger. His local service includes time on numerous boards, including the board of directors for Grace College and the Kosciusko County Community Foundation.
“You know, this community is probably one of the greatest communities to live in,” said Bishop. “My father once told me ‘Son, you will get out of your community what you put into it.’ I try to live up to that.”
Mulero-Betances is the president and CEO of EnPak, LLC. Her award was presented by local journalist Dan Spalding. According to Spalding, one nominator said, “she is committed to making sure that young students from marginalized cultures are aware of the educational opportunities in our community.”
Mulero-Betances also serves on many boards, including KCCF as well as many organizations dedicated to the promotion of diversity. She worked in the orthopedic industry for 21 years.
“She wants every citizen to know that she’s leading with a heart full of compassion and inclusion, as she works to make all individuals from all walks of life feel welcome and at home in this community,” said another nominator.
“My husband and I moved here 20 years ago,” said Mulero-Betances. “This community has been amazing.”
Chamber President and CEO Rob Parker served as presenter and emcee of the event and the keynote speaker was Daryle Doden, CEO of Ambassador Enterprises.
Other awards presented during the evening included:
Ambassador Of The Year
Doug Hanes, First Federal Savings Bank
Young Adult Professional Of The Year
Lyle Schrock, The Lab
Government Excellence Award
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer
Health And Wellness In The Workplace Award
Kosciusko Home Care & Hospice
Rising Star Award
Ignite Orthopedics, LLC.
Environmental And Sustainability Award
Making A Difference Award
Kosciusko County Community Foundation
Business Of The Year Award
Brian Peterson Real Estate