Presenting the 2020 Clinton County Community Champions!

The 2020 “Clinton County Community Champions” (C4) Awards are presented by the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, along with the Chamber’s 2020 Premium Sponsor – the Clinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), to highlight the stories of the Clinton County citizens, employers and employees, and organizations who are making an impact in our community.

Over 70 nominations were submitted for the below categories: Business, Citizen, Education, Healthcare, Non-profit, and Youth.

Nominees exemplified one or more of the following, during the course of the current year:

Exceptional commitment to our community by helping with a special project and/or ongoing activities
• Unselfish leadership, creativity, cooperation, and hard work in the service to others
• Inspiration to others as a role model

All of our 2020 C4 nominees will receive recognition certificates, and our award winners will be given a custom-designed Award Sculpture created by Champion Bridge Company in early December.

CONGRATULATIONS to our 2020 C4 Award recipients and THANK YOU to all of our nominees and sponsors!

Business:

Nominees: Angela Howell, Angela Reagan, Art House, Natalie Youd, Pam Moore, Rich Corrado, Shelby Boatman, TinCap Cidery and Craft Beer Taproom, Tonya Hunter and Hampton Inn & Suites Team, Tracy Ward, and Wilmington Nursing & Rehab

 

Art House, nominated by Paul Clark, sponsored by First State Bank

Starting a business at the beginning of the COVID pandemic has presented its challenges, but Art House has always provided positive energy for our community. Some of their community based programs include: the Origami Crane Project, distribution of free community masks, space and assistance with a Voter Registration Day, a pay-what-you-can “Loose Parts” art supply section, free supplies for the Clinton County Rally for Equality, and usable community space as part of the Sugartree Entertainment District. Art House exemplifies the true spirit of community. It is an inspiration to see such a creative business incorporate projects across generational lines.

Rich Corrado, nominated by Kym Parks (representing Air Transport Services Group), sponsored by the Clinton County Port Authority

As the pandemic began, Rich set the course for all the ATSG companies. He opened lines of communications, formed the corporate strategy, and ensured that ATSG did everything in its power to keep employees safe. His leadership and vision kept our company moving forward to meet increased customer demand while putting employee safety first. The best part about what Rich has done is model behavior through the adoption of virtual meetings, increased broadband connectivity for all employees, personal and employee mask usage, and making many tough decisions in order to increase employee safety. He continued to support the community by promoting local businesses and providing financial support to programs that did everything from providing masks to supporting military veterans. These actions model his belief and commitment to the Clinton County community and the leadership that Rich has exemplified inspires us all to go above and beyond.

TinCap Cidery and Craft Beer Taproom, nominated by Art House, sponsored by Wilmington Savings Bank

We at Art House have always known that Tincap is an asset to our community, but 2020 brought a whole new appreciation for the Tincap crew. Tincap welcomed us to the neighborhood and supported Art House in ways we never could have imagined. Relocating our business and DIYing a lot of renovations and repairs during quarantine wasn’t easy. In addition to surprise meals, Tincap allowed us the use of their loft space. Without this space that allows for social distancing, we would not have been able to host any workshops. Tincap has shown that small acts of kindness make a big difference, not only for our business, but for Wilmington. We are thankful for such a kind, innovative, community-driven business in our town.

Citizen:

Nominees: Alex Rhinehart, Dan Stewart, Dauna Armstong, Donna Slone Gumbert, Jane Newkirk, Jason Stoops and Leah Thomas-Lorenz, Jen & Jeremy Kaehler, Kelly Engle-Thompson, M. Brad Reynolds, Pastor Tom Stephenson, and Thomas Breckel

 

Alex Rhinehart, nominated by Andrew Conarroe (representing Art House and the Murphy Theatre), sponsored by Air Transport Services Group, Inc

Alex Rhinehart is a man of many talents. More than that, he is a man that supports his community and leads by example in everything that he does. When the Covid-19 pandemic forced our new business, Art House, to have to cut our construction and opening budget significantly, Alex volunteered his time and talent to transform our empty and exhausted storefront into a functional and beautiful studio and shop on a dime budget. All of his time, tools and talent was 100% donated. Due to the restrictions in place at the time, he did this primarily alone. Without Alex, there would have been absolutely no possible way for us to open Art House when we did, or even at all. During this time, Alex was also volunteering his time to complete a new library enclosure for the pocket part on Main Street, helping at the Murphy Marquee, and continuing to work full time.

Donna Slone Gumbert, nominated by Paula Smith (representing Council on Aging), sponsored by the Clinton Co. Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Director of marketing at Continental Manor in Blanchester and life-long resident of Clinton County, Donna Slone Gumbert formed the Blanchester Senior Community Collaborative with the goal of identifying and meeting the needs of seniors in the community during the pandemic. Because of this effort, 40-50 seniors received bi-weekly bags of non-perishable, fresh food, toiletry items, and educational resources from April through September. Though the Collaborative is no longer able to provide fresh food items to seniors, Donna stays in touch with them to make sure they are safe and have everything they need. Donna said, “The collaborative has opened up communication during the pandemic and provided an extra layer of assistance for our seniors in Blanchester. It’s amazing to see the community coming together to help seniors during this time of crisis. Little by little we are collecting items and getting them out to seniors in need. I feel that this collaborative experience will leave our community well-equipped to serve seniors in any situation.

Jen & Jeremy Kaehler, nominated by Jenny Hartman, sponsored by Greater Tomorrow Health

Jen and Jeremy Kaehler went above and beyond this past spring to ensure that the kids of Blanchester had food to eat while they were out of school. Jeremy is a member of the School Board but, unfortunately, our school wasn’t able to provide immediate meals. Jen and Jeremy got a group of community leaders together and supplied meals to around 200 students from March 16 (just days after school closed) to the start of school in August. The community of Blanchester all came together to gather donations, prepare meals, deliver lunches, while leaders like the Kaehler’s helped organize the effort and help our community get through this crazy year.

Education:

Nominees: Administration & Staff of Clinton-Massie Local Schools, Angela Howell, Beth Justice, Chastity Flanigan, Dennis Kelly, Donna Potts and Jennifer Gantz, Jane Newkirk, Jenny Hartman, Jeremy Kaehler, Lynn Lewis , Matt Baker/Aaron Seewer/ Rachel Cornett, Pam Bauer, and Shelby Boatman

 

Administration & Staff of Clinton-Massie Local Schools, nominated by Kathleen L. Norman (representing the Clinton-Massie School Board), sponsored by Smith Feike Minton Insurance

Our 220 staff members have shown exceptional commitment, unselfish leadership, astonishing creativity, determined cooperation, and unrelenting hard work in the service of our students since the moment this pandemic hit Clinton County in March. The countless examples include, but are not limited to: navigating innovative methods for food distribution, escalated cleaning procedures, new bus routes, supporting remote learning, the constant threat of cancelled athletic seasons, supporting student and staff mental and physical health, countless hours planning and executing strategies, proactive and collaborative leadership, and, certainly, the ongoing creativity and compassion that our teachers show daily in connecting with their students, developing innovative teaching strategies and supporting each other.

Beth Justice, nominated by Curt Bradshaw and Rogina Conroy (representing the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center), sponsored by Melvin Stone Company

Unselfish, creative, inspirational, and collaborative service to others do not adequately describe Beth Justice. Mrs. Justice goes above and beyond in her role as Superintendent of the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center, and it is because of her leadership, the ESC has been able to creatively address the challenges of its member districts, while developing innovative solutions to support administrators, teachers, and students across Clinton County (and beyond). She has led opportunities for educational leaders of each of the county school districts to unite regularly in an effort to seek updates from local, regional, and state health officials last spring, over the summer break, and this fall. She has worked hard to be a champion for all students during the pandemic, and she has served alongside her superintendent colleagues in the county’s school districts to lead conversations, listen to the needs of teachers, students, and families, and bring a much-needed message of hope to educational leaders and staff across the county.

Jenny Hartman, nominated by Megan Thompson (representing Blanchester Local Schools), sponsored by Bush Auto Place

Wildcat Jenny Hartman goes above and beyond for students in the Blanchester Local School District. Miss Hartman volunteers countless hours to ensure local families have meals, clothing, and other items they need. She created the Wildcat Den where donations are available for students, and packed thousands of meals for students during COVID and summer break. You always see her with a huge smile and she always has kind and positive words to say. Miss Hartman also volunteered and made sure needed items were provided for Night to Shine! Miss Hartman also serves as the Drama Director and Senior class advisor. Jenny goes above and beyond for those in the Blanchester Community!

Healthcare:

Nominees: Brad Reynolds/Ohio Living Cape May, Carrie Fairchild/Greater Tomorrow Health, Pam Bauer/Clinton County Health Department Staff, HealthSource of Ohio, Jane Newkirk, Jeff Manser, Thomas Breckel, and Wilmington Nursing & Rehab

 

Brad Reynolds/Ohio Living Cape May, nominated by Dan Evers, Tom Dreyer, and multiple residents of Cape May; sponsored by Custom Molded Products, LLC

Great organizations begin with great leaders and OLCM has been recently recognized as a “Best Nursing Home” in Short-Term Rehabilitation by U.S. News and World Report. The grace and commitment with which the Ohio Living Cape May staff performs this exceptional work – and receives national recognition for its efforts, services, and performance – begins at the top. As the Executive Director/Administrator of Ohio Living Cape May, Brad Reynolds has been a constant and consistent leader who has persevered in keeping the residents at OLCM safe from the coronavirus. Despite frequent (sometimes daily) changes in orders from the state, Brad has kept the residents, staff, and family members informed with regular “One Calls,” he shows compassion and thoughtfulness, makes a personal commitment and takes interest in the welfare of each resident, and his availability to respond to resident needs is reflected in the many hours he devotes to the Cape May community.

Pam Bauer/Clinton County Health Department Staff, nominated by the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center and Cindy Stenger (Clinton Massie District School Nurse), sponsored by Peoples Bank

As public health department officials were beginning to navigate a pandemic, Pam immediately responded to the requests of school district leaders in Clinton County to assist in planning for a safe opening of school in the Fall of 2020. Ms. Bauer graciously agreed to meet regularly with the ESC and district superintendents to provide updates, facts, statistics and to help answer public health questions. She did this all while remaining very calm and reassuring, offering a voice of hope at a time when the community experienced fear and concern. Pam Bauer’s leadership and service to the Clinton County community have proven to be exceptional to the local school communities and to the entire Clinton County community. The entire Health Department staff have spent countless hours working day, night, and weekends to contact trace and keep our students in a safe and healthy learning environment. It has taken hard work, a collaborative team, unselfish leadership, and relentless service to others to tackle this global pandemic while keeping our citizens safe and healthy.

HealthSource of Ohio, nominated by Randy Riley (representing HealthSource of Ohio Foundation), sponsored by the Wilmington News Journal

HealthSource of Ohio has proven to be a true leader in wellness throughout 2020. “We have adapted to ensure everyone has access to care; from continuing well child checks and immunizations, to helping our elderly learn how to do zoom telehealth visits, increased access to behavioral health consultation, and office and community COVID testing,” stated Dr. Rachel Sneed. HSO not only retained all current staff members, but also expanded personnel to meet the needs of our communities, and the development and implementation of the COVID Testing Program. HSO’s testing team quickly emerged as a trusted community partner for Clinton County’s pandemic response and continues to serve as a community-healthcare liaison to the local business community and social service agencies.

Non-Profit:

Nominees: Brad Reynolds/Ohio Living Cape May, Carrie Zeigler, Clinton County History Center/Shelby Boatman, Council on Aging Comfort Meal Program, Dennis Kelly, Eleanor Harris/Harvest of Gold, Friends of Clarksville, Jan Blohm, Jane Newkirk, Jennifer Williams, Joseph Spicer, Lee Sandlin & Kaleb Holcomb, Rich Boil, Scot Gerber, The Murphy Theatre Staff & Volunteers, Thomas Breckel, and Tracy Ward

 

Council on Aging Comfort Meal Program, nominated by Paula Smith (representing Council on Aging), sponsored by Air Transport Services Group, Inc

Since the start of the pandemic, Council on Aging began hearing from individuals who were afraid to go out for groceries and other necessities, and who were without their regular support network. After receiving additional federal funding to expand meal service to seniors during the pandemic, COA developed partnerships with area restaurants to bring comfort meals to older adults – particularly low-income older adults who were isolated in senior apartment buildings. COA has worked hard to recruit local and minority-owned restaurants to participate in the program, including Beaugard’s Southern Bar B Que in Wilmington. In this way, COA not only helps area seniors, but also local businesses and employees who’ve been adversely impacted by the pandemic. Since April, more than 1,700 comfort meals have been delivered to Clinton County seniors. COA’s comfort meal program has done much more than feed seniors during this difficult time. The meals buoyed the spirits of isolated older adults and helped them to feel connected to the world outside their doors.

Friends of Clarksville, nominated by Carol Jean Carter and Kathy Rager, sponsored by Alkermes

With Wade Hall’s leadership, Friends of Clarksville formed in spring 2019 with the mission statement: Building Community, Restoring Hope, and Growing our Future. A dynamic team came together and the signature project, Clarksville Community Park, was full steam ahead. Fueled with the full support of the community who came out with generous giving during fundraising efforts and countless volunteer hours, Clarksville Community Park became a reality in October 2020.The FOC also planned for a native foliage garden to surround the park for beauty and educational purposes and, in keeping with their mission as part of growing community, a garden club formed. Seeing the countless hours of work that this team sacrificed to give back to the community is humbling. The many hours that went into fundraising efforts, grant writing, playground design, equipment selection, meetings, research, bookkeeping and budgeting are endless but to see it all end with the happy giggles and smiles of children are a timeless reward.

Lee Sandlin & Kaleb Holcomb, nominated by Amy Volz, Michael Snarr & the Sugartree Board; sponsored by Great Oaks Career Campuses

Sugartree is normally run by hundreds of volunteers each month, but when COVID-19 hit in March, Lee and Kaleb led a team of about 10 volunteers, many of whom are recovering addicts, and kept the place running for months. Despite the smaller team, the ministry began delivering groceries to high-risk people throughout the county, implemented a drive-up grocery option, continued to provide 6 meals a week, run an emergency men’s shelter serving dozens of men experiencing homelessness, and helped find alternative shelter for many more people who were left stranded. Additionally, they have had countless meetings with local authorities, politicians, and stakeholders to provide the most help to the at-risk population of Wilmington and the surrounding areas. Most recently, Sugartree launched a recovery-based employment program, Sugartree Landscaping, which will help people recovering from addiction get back on their feet.

Youth:

Nominees: Autumn Byrd and Emily Quallen

Autumn Byrd, nominated by Andrew Conarroe (representing Art House), sponsored by Donatos Pizza

Autumn Byrd is an inspiration to both children and adults, personifying kindness and leadership in many of the activities she’s involved with. This nomination is specifically to focus on the impromptu speech she delivered at Wilmington’s Unified for Equality Rally this Summer. Autumn was not on the list of speakers, however she felt moved to share her perspective and as a result there was not a dry eye in the house. Even delivering an emotional speech, Autumn remained focused and driven. It took a lot of courage to get behind that microphone. Most adults I know wouldn’t have been so brave. Autumn understood the importance of the day and that her words matter. I was very proud to know her and for my own kids to see such bravery and determination in someone their age.

Emily Quallen, anonymous nomination, sponsored by Merchants National Bank

Emily is a current Senior at Wilmington High School. She excels academically and is a member of the National Honor Society, Phi Delta Sigma Academic Sorority, the WHS Marching Band, and the Select Wind Ensemble. Emily also works on her family’s dairy farm, which is the foundation of her work ethic. She has been actively involved in 4H, currently serving as her Club President, and has participated in the Clinton County Junior Fair showing Dairy Cows since she was five years old . Emily has not let the 2020 COVID environment stop her from safely participating in the Wilmington Community and beyond. She participated virtually with Wilmington College’s Friends Committee on National Legislation’s annual Spring Lobby Weekend in Washington DC, and served as an intern at the Clinton County Board of Elections.