The Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual awards banquet Thursday evening at the Chillicothe Elks Lodge, where several people were honored for their contributions to the community. Around 260 Chamber members and guests attended.
The event marked the beginning of a new year for the Chamber, as outgoing president Eric Sensenich stepped down and president-elect Danette Rardon became the new president. Long time board members Martha Berry and Kent Peterson, who are leaving the Chamber board, were recognized for their years of service.
Local contestants competed in the seventh annual "Dancing with Our Chillicothe Stars" dance competition as the evening's entertainment.
Sensenich noted several Chamber activities that gained momentum in 2013, particularly the Young Professionals group, and said that there will be good plans for the Chamber in 2014. He introduced incoming president Danette Rardon, who presented Sensenich with a plaque for his leadership this past year.
Rardon said she was looking forward to this upcoming year for the Chamber, and stated that because the Chamber has planned so well and spent its money wisely, the Chamber is on a solid financial foundation. She also stated that the Chamber is currently planning some new things for the upcoming year, including new educational opportunities for Chamber members, growth in the Young Professionals group and several possible international trips. A Chamber member appreciation luncheon is slated for June 18, and Rardon said it will not be the typical topic-focused luncheon, something different from years past.
"I'm looking forward to the coming year," Rardon concluded. "There area lot of possibilities out there for us."
Awards presented were:
Ambassador Team of the Year Award — Baker's Dozen team, chaired by captain Staci Baker
Ambassador of the Year Award — David Seiberling
Business Holiday Lighting Award — Investors National Bank
Personal Community Service Award — Darrel Rinehart
Business Community Service Award — Chillicothe Parks Department
Chamber Person of the Year Award — Martha Berry
Lifetime Achievement Award — Mayor Chuck Haney
The Personal Community Service Award was presented to Darrel Rinehart by Tom Chapman.
Criteria for the Personal Community Service Award include contributing time, talent and creative ideas, showing support for Chamber activities and events, working tirelessly with no recognition throughout the year and working in both Chamber activities and in the community to help people and organizations in the community.
When introducing Rinehart, Chapman noted his efforts throughout the community. He said Rinehart has been very involved with the First Baptist Church in Chillicothe as a teacher, committee member and chair, deacon, trustee and volunteer. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club, and is also noted for being a long-time City Council member, both 4th Ward Councilman and Councilman-At-Large. He is a member of the HMC Hospital Board and has been a part of several committees in the city. Rinehart used to work at Churchill Truck Lines and now works at Woody's Automotive Group.
Page 2 of 4 - The Business Community Service Award was presented to Josh Norris of the Chillicothe Parks Department by Brent Kline.
For a business to win this award, they must be a member of the Chamber that allows and encourages their employees to volunteer and participate in both Chamber and community events. It is a progressive and forward-thinking business and an enthusiastic supporter of community events.
When introducing the Chillicothe Parks Department as the winner, Kline said this was a business that everyone in the community experienced every day, whether or not they realized it. He said that the business had no true location; they were found throughout the area.
Kline commended the Chillicothe Parks Department for their work throughout Livingston County, specifically noting their work on Simpson Park, Danner Park, Shaffer Park, Silver Moon Plaza and Chilli Bay. He said they work hard to host YMCA sports teams, SPA, high school sports teams, Mudcats Baseball, Chautauqua, Festival of Lights, Relay for Life and the Lions Car Show at those locations annually, and their constant work around the area is appreciated by everyone in the community.
The Chamber Person of the Year Award was presented to Martha Berry by Mayor Chuck Haney.
The criteria for the Chamber Person of the Year Award include a person that is a member of the Chamber who is respected and well known by Chamber members and is a leader within the Chamber and the community. This individual actively volunteers in Chamber activities and events and supports the Chamber through committee work by taking a leadership role. This award is given each year to a deserving Chamber member who exemplifies the highest standards of Chamber membership.
When introducing Berry as the winner, Haney said she has been a lifelong resident of the area and has been a part of the community for years, through efforts as an employee, volunteer and member of numerous boards and committees.
"She has made an impact on Chillicothe, and certainly on the Chamber," Haney said.
Her roles in the Chamber for the past six years she has been a member include committee member, committee chair, ambassador, event attendee, event volunteer and board member.
He said Berry is dedicated, directed and dependable, and she has been a part of many community organizations. Haney drew attention to her past efforts with raising funds for those who face life struggles, her work at the Elks Lodge as a volunteer and being in her third term as the Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge. In addition to her work with the Chamber and the Elks Lodge, Berry is also a real-estate salesperson at Gaslight Realty in Chillicothe. She has won the Chamber Ambassador of the Year Award several times in the past, as well.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mayor Chuck Haney by Andrea Graves.
Page 3 of 4 - The criteria for this award include being a respected resident of Chillicothe or Livingston County, someone who may or may not be a current Chamber member, must make a significant contribution to the community over many years, be immediately recognized by the community as a leader and contributor and must have led several campaigns to promote the community and special events.
When introducing this year's winner, Graves said Haney has been a life-long area resident that many people recognize as being present in different aspects the community, such as several careers, church, the Chamber, the City, service clubs, organizations and activities.
She noted some of Haney's more memorable activities and affiliations as being a member, board member and president of the Chamber, past member of the Chillicothe Rotary Club, St. Columban Catholic Church and multiple duties within the City of Chillicothe. Haney began his media career in radio in the mid-1950s and spent 15 plus years working in the radio business. He also began working at the Constitution-Tribune in 1964, serving as both an editor and publisher until 1998. Several accolades he has earned throughout his media career include President of both the Northwest Missouri Press Association and the Missouri Press Association, Board of Directors of the Missouri Press Association Foundation and most recently an inductee into the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame.
Though his many accomplishments are things to talk about, Graves said there is one quality that the accolades don't mention; "His heart."
"His devotion to his family, his friends, his church and his community is the stuff of legends," Graves said. "His genuine love of all of those things is something that doesn't necessarily show up on resume, but is truly the measure of a man."
Eric Sensenich presented the Ambassador Team of the Year Award to Baker's Dozen, chaired by captain Staci Baker, and presented the top individual Ambassador of the Year Award to David Seiberling. Other teams who participated were Berry Patch with captain Martha Berry, Rosina's Rebels with captain Rosina Harter and Juanita's Amazing Alliance with captain Juanita Assel.
Danette Rardon presented the Business Holiday Lighting Award to Investors National Bank.
Following the awards presentation, the evening's entertainment began with the dance competition, "Dancing with Our Chillicothe Stars." The panel of judges consisted of Amy Supple, director of Greater Chillicothe Visitors Region; Crystal Narr, general manager of Comfort Inn and Suites; and Tom Chapman, 43rd Circuit Judge.
Dancers were as follows:
Carrie Almond, Tom Ashbrook, Jennifer Potter and Jim Valbracht, sponsored by Citizens Bank and Trust, Harden, Cummins, Moss and Miller, Bank Midwest and Nancy Valbracht. They performed a Swing dance to the song "Rockin' Robin."
Ricky Baker, Jill Distler, David Mammen and Leslie Wilson, performing the Tango to the song "Bang Bang." They were sponsored by Robertson Insurance, Essential Kneads, Indian Hills and The Ad Zone.
Page 4 of 4 - Scott Cady, Clay Jensen, Karen Jensen and Carrie Miller, sponsored by Hometown Pharmacy, Terry Deatz, CPA, Hy-Vee and Hedrick Family Care. They performed the Jive to "The Clapping Song."
Staci Baker, Jared Cosgrove, Howard Moritz, Eric Sensenich, Sally Stefancik and Jim Summerville, performing a country swing/line dance combination to the song "Timber." They were sponsored by Citizens Bank and Trust, Terry Deatz, CPA, Anytime Fitness, Sensenich Jeweler, Woody's Automotive Group and Summerville Insurance.
Once the dancers finished their performances, judges picked their favorites, but in the end, the vote was left to the audience. The winners were Staci Baker, Jared Cosgrove, Howard Moritz, Eric Sensenich, Sally Stefancik and Jim Summerville for their country swing/line dance combination. Each of the winners received a medal from Sensenich Jewelry.
Thursday evening also included the introduction of the 2013 Board of Directors: Danette Rardon, president-elect; Julee Nibarger, vice president; Steve Holt, treasurer; and Kent Peterson, past president. Members are: Roger Barnes, Martha Berry, Ronni Clark, Jill Distler, Pat Gates, Brent Kline, Cathy Ripley and Matt Wenzel. Mayor Chuck Haney serves as an ex-officio member of the board. New members for 2014 are Chasity Anderson, Crystal Narr and Scott Rule. Both Martha Berry and Kent Peterson left the board after serving the maximum allotted six years on the board.
Table sponsors for the evening were: Anytime Fitness, Bella-Brooke Adult Day Center, City of Chillicothe, Farmers' Electric Cooperative, Hometown Family Stores, Investors Bank, Price and Johnson Insurance, Sensenich Jeweler, Woody's Automotive Group, Bank Midwest, Citizens Bank and Trust, Empire District Gas, Hedrick Medical Center, Indian Hills, Midwest Gloves and Gear, Robertson Insurance and Summerville Insurance.
Raffle and banquet sponsors for the evening were: Anytime Fitness, Case Contracting, Cloverleaf Cold Storage, Empire District Gas, Farmers' Electric Cooperative, Hometown Pharmacy, Lauhoff Jewelry and Gifts, Martin House Gifts, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company, Roger's Pawn and Gun, Sydenstricker Farm and Lawn, BTC Bank, Chillicothe State Bank, Copeland Development, Essential Kneads, Grand River Area Family YMCA, Hutchinson and Co., Lindley Funeral Home, McCoy and Samples Dental Clinic, Piggly Wiggly, Sensenich Jeweler and Wabash BBQ.
Others who assisted with the evening include Murphy's Photography, Original Artworks by Kelly, Sharp Focus Video and dance instruction by Crystal Narr. Committee members include Karen Kay Summerville, Jennie Tipton, Martha Berry, Margaret Deatz and Julee Nibarger.