Buchanan Chamber remembers Clark, honors area businesses and volunteersPublished 9:53am Monday, March 8, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
At the Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner, volunteerism and dedication seemed to hang in the air as awards were handed out to individuals and businesses making a difference in the community.
The event was held at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Niles Thursday night.
Board member Ted Chase said the organization had reached 150 members.
Three awards were given out during the ceremony including the Redbud Business Award, given to a “business that excels in its commitment to the community through staff volunteerism, event attendance and financial support.”
That award when to Redbud Insurance, honored for its “family of community volunteers with dedicated owners as well as staff,” Chase said.
The Dale E. Florey Volunteer of the Year Award went to Jerry Flenar, to whom “the word “No” does not exist in his vocabulary,” Chase said.
Among his attributes, Chase said Felnar “chairs the annual Buckteen’s Reunion which brings in 500-600 people back to Buchanan to what is know as the largest potluck around.
“He gives much of his time and labor capabilities to the Garden Club as well as the School Farm Plow Days,” he said. “As an active Buchanan Lion he coordinates each dinner serves and organizes the Lion’s largest fundraiser which is food concession tent at Redbud TNT’s pro race weekend each year.”
The Redbud Award for Lifetime Achievement went to Marie Kangas.
Chase said Kangas “has spent her entire life helping others. For a time she was a hospice volunteer and over the years she has been an honorary grandma at Stark Elementary School.
“She spent four to five mornings a week helping children and listening to them read,” he said. “She has even gone as far as to invite them into her home and befriended the entire family.”
The chamber paid special tribute to former Buchanan mayor Barbara Clark, who was nominated for the award and died last month after battling cancer.
“Barbara’s impact on Buchanan is more than just a simple act of servitude, more than sitting on a committee; her commitment to Buchanan was a legacy of how to represent the city she so dearly loved in a positive manner,” Chase said. “She did this by being Barbara – a graceful and kind human being. There are people you meet that leave an impression, Barb left a permanent imprint on your soul, one that always connected you to the city she loved.”
A special local artist’s rendering of the city was presented to members of Clark’s family.
Redbud Insurance’s Alice Kring and Express-1 and Niles Community Schools school board member Jeff Curry were recipients of a Special Appreciation and Service Award and Edgewater Bank received the Special Business Appreciation and Recognition Award to round out the evening.