ASHLAND — Dozens gathered Thursday at the Ashland University’s John C. Myers Convocation Center to honor and celebrate Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce’s members and community leaders.
At the Chamber’s annual meeting, board member Troy Snyder presented five awards and commendations to former Chamber president Barbie Lange, and interim Chamber president Amy Daubenspeck awarded the Jim Lingenfelter Service Award and two Spirit of the Chamber awards.
The fourth annual Lingenfelter Service Award was given to Brian Hinkle of First Knox National Bank. The award is intended for an individual who emulate the characteristics of Jim Lingenfelter, who was known for his passion, dedication, and positive attitude that spanned the entire county as he worked to make connections and bring organizations together for the good of the Ashland area.
“When he passed away the chamber staff really felt compelled to present this award in his name…. He made a difference everywhere throughout Ashland County,” Daubenspeck said.
Hinkle explained that he knew Lingenfleter, so this award was “extra special” to him.
“I considered him a great friend, a good college; he had great energy. He was probably the one who talked me into the idea of service, service to your customers, service to your colleagues, service to your community,” Hinkle said. “I tried to follow his footsteps as much as I could over the years, and certainly his service was cut way too short. He had a lot still left to give.
“I look over the list of people who have this award over the several couple of years. I’m not sure my name comes even close to some of those people, but I’m certainly honored to accept it .He did a lot for Loudonville, a lot for ashland, and I hope I can do a small percent of what he did in my lifetime.”
The Spirit of the Chamber Award was presented to Armstrong Accounting and Consulting and the executive director at Ashland Christian Health Center Cheryl Benway.
“I’m speechless,” Lisa Armstrong said when accepting the award for Armstrong Accounting and Consulting.
The award is given annually to one business and one individual for exemplary dedication and service to the Chamber throughout the year. The recipients are to have demonstrated leadership in volunteerism, energy, creativity and giving. The award has been given since 1993.
Keynote speaker, Jan Archer highlighted the importance of individuals and businesses like these in her speech Thursday.
“We certainly have been given much, and when we give back, it’s not for the awards, as lovely as they are; it’s for the rewards we get in feeling good that we’re making our community someplace special, that we’re paying it forward to generations to come,” she said.
Archer had received the Lingenfelter Service Award last year.
Earlier in the program, former Chamber president, Lange, was honored. Snyder presented her with commendations from US Congressman Bob Gibbs, US Senator Sherrod Brown, Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof.
“Throughout your distinguished tenure with the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, you’ve demonstrated unwavering dedication to performing your duties and fulfilling your responsibilities with the utmost efficiency and competence, always sincere and energetic in your approach to your work,” Obhof said in his commendation. “You’ve given freely of your time and abilities, far beyond what was required or expected.”
Snyder and nearly everyone else who spoke Thursday thanked Lange for her service. Ashland University president Dr. Carlos Campos recognized her first in his introduction, and later Chamber board president Todd Geren listed some of her accomplishments, which include increasing membership, earning state awards, starting an HR connection group, working with Chamber health insurance providers to enhance services for small businesses and expanding the small business of the year awards.
“Thank you. I think I've said it before, but you do the work God gives you to do and you do it with all your might and with all your heart and in doing so you meet a lot of great people,” Lange said.
The second annual Realizing Investment Strengthens Community (RISC) awards were also handed out Thursday to recognize businesses that have contributed to the economic development of the area.
These include: Arrow Nutrition, Ashland Area Economic Development, Ashland Cleaning, Ashland Combat Club, Ashland County Fairgrounds, Ashland Craft Vinyl, Ashland Drain Cleaning, Ashland Nails, Ashland Roots, Ashland University, Ashley’s Candy & Nut Shoppe, BCU Electric Inc, Beyond Estestics, Bikesmith, Brethren Care Village, Brethren National Church Office, Brew’d Coffee and Donuts, Chickadee Fashion Co., Coffy Creations Photography, Coffyspace LLC, Compass Insurance and Financial Group, COMTEX, Fig and Oak, Fiesta Charra Restaurant, Good Deed Entertainment, Grace Church, Joan’s Tavern, Kandi’s Rods and Kustoms, Learning Trade Secrets, Keller Williams - The Tracy Jones Team, LifeCare Hospice, LK Home Decor, NextHome Next Stepp, Pet Valu, Pioneer National Latex, Polished LLC, ReeBates, Riley’s, Smith’s Attic, Snap Fitness, Spherion Staffing, Studio42 Hair and Nails, Sugargrove Tree Farm, The Mifflin Inn Restaurant, The Grooming Lounge, The Tap Room, Tin Can Chandelier, Tin Man Heating and Cooling, UH Samaritan Medical Center, Union Lofts, Whoopsie Daisy Bowtique and Vinyl Marketing.