The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

Chamber honors Taylor, A&B with awards

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert Chamber President/CEO Susan Munroe (right) presents the Crystal Image Award to Alexander & Bebout. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)
Van Wert Chamber President/CEO Susan Munroe (right) presents the Crystal Image Award to Alexander & Bebout. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

The Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce held its 94th annual dinner and awards ceremony on Thursday evening, with retired teacher Kathy Taylor and local construction company Alexander & Bebout winning the top awards of the evening.

Taylor, who was instrumental in creating the Blessings in a Backpack program that provides food for needy children each weekend during the school year, as well as serving on the Crisis Care Line/House of
Transition board for the past 15 years, was chosen as the Ray Miller Award winner. The award honors an individual that makes a significant contribution to the community.

Taylor deflected some of the honors received onto her husband, Judge Kevin Taylor, who she said was by her side during much of her volunteer work, and also complimented the community and its businesses for much of the success of the Blessings in a Backpack program and other programs.

“Without the strong business commitment and volunteer spirit, the generosity and compassion of our community, we would not be where we are today,” Taylor said after accepting the Ray Miller Award from 2015 winner Edd Buhl.

Ohio City Mayor Carol Miller was the other finalist for the award, but couldn’t attend the dinner because she was recuperating from surgery.

Alexander & Bebout won the other top award of the night: The Crystal Image Award, which honors a business that makes contributions to the community and the Chamber.

Sara Zura, president of the company and granddaughter of company founder Tom Alexander, talked about the company’s philosophy, as developed by her grandfather.

Kathy Taylor speaks after winning the Ray Miller Award. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)
Kathy Taylor speaks after winning the Ray Miller Award. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

“My grandfather has had a philosophy that I was raised with: It’s our responsibility to serve the community, and that’s why we do what we do,” Zura said. “So I charge all of you in the room tonight to do what you can do for this community, like my grandfather would recommend.”

Alexander & Bebout also received the Milestone Award for celebrating its 50th year in business.

Also Thursday evening, Eaton Corporation received the Junior Achievement Corporate Impact Award for its contributions to the business education program.

Other Chamber award winners included the following:

Golden Shovel Award (for major construction and expansion projects) — Apex Clean Energy, Black Angus on Main restaurant, Ottawa Oil Company (Schlotzsky’s/Cinnabon restaurant and Party Mart), Edward Jones/Jon Gunsett, The Salvation Army, Gibby’s Photo, Van Wert County Farm Bureau, and the YMCA of Van Wert County for its splash pad project.

Milestone Award (for businesses celebrating anniversaries) — Northwest Ohio Welch Trophy, Slusher’s Jewelry, Westwood Car Wash, Bee Gee Realty & Auctioneers, P & R Medical Connection, Community Health Professionals, Van Wert Manor, Perry ProTech, Vancrest Health Centers, Van Wert Auto Supply, F & S Flooring, Laudick’s Jewelry, and Collins Fine Foods.

The remainder of the evening was given over to laughter as comedian-farmer-politician Drew Hastings regaled the crowd with many of his hilarious, but often politically incorrect, thoughts.

POSTED: 01/29/16 at 8:51 am. FILED UNDER: News