Friday, February 25th, 2011
By Christine Henderson
Chamber recognizes service
Mercer County people, organizations win yearly awards
CELINA - Long-time community members and one newcomer on Thursday night won the annual awards presented by the Celina Mercer County Chamber of Commerce.
Joan Kiser, director of the Center for Neurological Development in Burkettsville, received the 2010 Citizen of the Year award. Her family came from many hours away to surprise her at the banquet and share her moment. Kiser thanked and gave credit to the center volunteers and staff.
Kiser of Maria Stein has been director since the center began in St. Peter in 1984. The center provides rehabilitation services to people with disabilities and is funded by donations and fundraisers. It is operated with a large staff of volunteers. In Kiser's off-hours, she speaks about the center to organizations and takes disabled clients on trips.
The Business of the Years honor went to Cooper Farms of St. Henry and Fort Recovery. With nearly 800 employees, Cooper Farmers is one of the largest employers in Mercer County. The poultry processing business also supports more than 300 independent, contract family farms to raise animals and is one of the main buyers of grain for local farmers.
In business more than 40 years, Cooper Farms has a gain-sharing bonus program so employees may share in the company's success, provides rewards for innovative ideas and encourages its staff to participate in community activities and wellness initiatives. The company itself supports and contributes to community festivals and organizations.
After more than 10 years of singing, The Sisters of the Disorder retired last year, but not without winning the 2010 Humanitarian Award. The 12 women, primarily from Fort Recovery, have entertained with humor throughout Ohio and even to Michigan. They began in 1995 at the talent night at Van Trees Park, Fort Recovery. Over the years, the group donated $20,000. Most of their earnings were given to charities and individuals in need.
The "sisters," who perform in nun outfits, are Barb Lennartz, Jodi Staugler, Cathy Koesters, Sandy Knoth, Mary Niekamp, Pauline Faller, Patti Stahl, Becky Rammel, Stephanie Klingshirn, Rosie Zehringer, Jane Kleinhenz and Peggy Huff.
An organization established January 2010 won the Achievement Award. The Grand Lake Restoration Commission was formed to collect, analyze and catalyze actions for the improvement of Grand Lake water quality. The commission prepared a master plan for the sustainable environmental and economic renewal of the lake and its contributing watersheds. It has raised about $600,000 toward bringing the lake into ecological balance.
The awards were presented before a full house at the Galleria in Celina after a dinner and a talk by Jim Collins, a motivational speaker. Collins, of Collins Learning Center in Youngstown, gave tips on how to be joyful through positive thinking. Also speaking were Shirley Gross, outgoing chamber president, and Betty DuBry, incoming president.
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