By DAN ROBINSON
Times staff writer
ADA — The Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance selected Sue Bailey as its 2019 Citizen of the Year at a banquet Thursday night at McIntosh Center on the campus of Ohio Northern University.
“This year’s recipient, Susan Bailey, can be found in the community answering to many titles,” said Roger Crowe in his introduction.
A pharmacist at the OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital in Kenton, Bailey and her husband, Matt, are also co-owners of Skinny’s Tavern, also in Kenton.
But, continued Crowe, Bailey is also known for her devotion to activities in the community.
Bailey has dedicated many hours at the YMCA, where she has organized a cupcake war fundraiser, assisted with the father-daughter dance and established a summer swim team.
“She is passionate in supporting the Kenton Historical Courthouse District, where she helps organize volunteers to water the downtown flowers each spring and summer,” noted . “She also is instrumental in the annual Mistletoe Ball that raises funds for Hardin Memorial Hospital and takes on the responsibility of decorating the hospital during the holiday season. Those are just a few of the things that contribute to Sue receiving the Citizen of the Year Award.”
“I am humbled and honored to be in this company,” she said of the previous Citizen of the Year winners. “I am lucky my parents believed in volunteering in the community and instilled in me how to give back.”
Wilson Football Factory was named the Alliance’s Business of the Year winner.
For 65 years, said Rodney Hensel, the company has made Ada and Hardin County its home. It produces 700,000 footballs each year with a handmade process that relies on “a talented work force of men and women.”
The company has provided footballs for major NFL events for several years.
“Every point scored by in the NFL has been with a Wilson football, creating the longest official game ball relationship in American sports history,” said Hensel. “Wilson Football Factory’s continued investment in Hardin County’s workforce has given them the ability to provide superior products and this in turn has created the type of legacy that lives on for generations and we are grateful.”
“I love working in Ada,” said Wilson Manager Andy Wentling as he accepted the award. “This is a great honor and a great company.”
The Outstanding Small Business of 2019 is Golden Graphics of Kenton.
Established in 1983 with a $500 cash advance on a Mastercard, owners Tim and Robin Carrig have grown their business to seven employees at two locations, performing an average of 150 jobs per day. Their work is shipped to customers as far away as Wyoming and the employee list includes Honda of America and the Ohio State University.
Golden Graphics’ “true skill is solving each of their customers issues and giving them the best service using state-of-the-art equipment,” said Chad Spencer.
“The staff at Golden Graphics have served on various committees and boards throughout the years,” said Spencer. “They give back where they can and feel strongly about supporting their local organizations.”
Standing with Tim Carrig in accepting the award were many of Golden Graphics’ employees.
“They are more like family than employees,” said Carrig. The group represented a combined 180 years of employment at the business. “We have watched each other’s children grow up and now graduate.”
He thanked his staff and the Golden Graphics customers for their support.
This year’s Community Service Award was presented to ONU HealthWise Health Clinic of Ada.
Established ten years ago, the clinic was established when ONU saw a need to provide “interdisciplinary, quality medical care to all residents of Hardin County,” noted Stephanie Temple.
In 2015, HealthWise was established to address the rural community suffering from “poverty and lack of access to care.” A grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration paid for a 38-foot bus which was developed into a mobile medical center at no charge to the community. HealthWise has established partnerships with health providers throughout the area.
“The concept of offering a mobile clinic serves a dual purpose,” said Temple, “benefiting patients with exceptional care and providing students with an experiential learning opportunity they could not have gained in a classroom setting.”
“Hardin County is our classroom and the community is our professors,” said Dr. Michael Rush. “We are so grateful to be a part of this community and we are looking forward to many, many partnerships ahead.”
Julie Crowe was named the 2019 Women LEAD Professional Excellence Award winner at Thursday’s banquet.
A founding member of both the Society Singers and the Hardin County Players, Crowe has “given many years of dedication volunteering and enhancing the non-profits in her community through finding opportunities for funding and grants,” said Jen McMurray.
She is supportive of Heartbeat of Hardin County and the GEM program, continued McMurray.
Crowe retired after 26 years of service at the Hardin County YMCA. She is also a long-term member of the Kenton Elks Lodge, where she has served in various offices including Exalted Ruler and officer of the year.
When she was growing up, Crowe told the guests, she had dreams of becoming famous, but she later realized “Kenton and Hardin County was where I was destined to be.”
She decided to “bloom” in her own community and get involved with what was happening here.
“I am not special,” said Crowe. “There are hundreds of people in Hardin County who see the need to bloom where they are planted and the need to work where they see a need.”
Shannon Barnes is known in the community “for her ability to manage multiple roles with grace and excellence,” said Brian Sprang in his introduction of the Young Professional Leadership Award winner for 2019.
Barnes has specialized in human resource management and finance at Robinson Fin Machines for 22 years and is also the general manager of Hometown Media and radio station WKTN.
“I am humbled to receive this award,” said Barnes. “I have been blessed with the best mentors, great co-workers, lots of good friends and the support of my family.”
The 2019 Ambassador of the Year is Kolt Buchenroth of Kenton.
“Kolt Buchenroth is perhaps the youngest recipient of the Hardin County Ambassador Award,” noted Julie Jordan. “Kolt is known throughout the community for his dedication to helping whenever he is needed with kindness and excellence.”
But the Ohio State University student is recognized for his work behind the scenes to “provide solutions for critical tasks for the Alliance.”
“He is quick to deliver and modest in accepting praise,” said Jordan.
“My great-grandmother used to say ‘You can’t say thank-you too many times,’” Buchenroth told the guests.
He followed that advice by thanking his parents and the staff at the Alliance, but gave special praise to Matt Jennings and Jon Cross for their guidance.
The Emerging Business of the Year honors went to Ada’s Crimson Lane Venue. This was the first year for the award.
Owners Mike and Jodi Willeke offer a business which has become one of the area’s “most sought after wedding venues,” said Tim Striker.
Established in early 2019, Crimson Lane has 85 weddings slated at this point through 2021, said Striker.
“This is a family owned and operated business that was built on 130 acres of farmland and woods along with a nine-acre lake,” continued Striker.
“We are thankful for the support of the community,” said Jodi Willeke.
Harco Industries was recognized as the Non-Profit of the Year for 2019.
“Harco Industries is a county staple that has provided resources to special needs individuals and their families for years,” said Derek Snider. “Harco Industries is also the parent organization of KudoStudio, which provides an artistic outlet to individuals with disabilities.”
“This is the greatest job I have ever had in my life,” said Manager David Schaub, a former teacher. “It is a privilege to work with people with disabilities. Harco is the happiest place you could ever be.”