The 2021 “Clinton County Community Champion” (C4) Awards

 

 

The 2021 “Clinton County Community Champions” (C4) Awards are presented by the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, along with the Chamber’s 2021 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 50 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 2021 C4 nominees will receive recognition certificates, and our award winners will be recognized at the Chamber Annual Luncheon on September 22nd and will receive a custom-designed Award Sculpture created by Champion Bridge Company. Details on the Luncheon can be found on the Chamber site: wccchamber.com/annual-meeting

CONGRATULATIONS to our 2021 C4 Award recipients and THANK YOU to all of our nominees and sponsors! 
The C4 Awards are generously sponsored by:
Clinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), ATSG INC, Alkermes, Inc., Bush Auto Place, Charter Communications/Spectrum, Clinton County Port Authority, Complete Floor Care, Donatos Pizza, Great Oaks Career Campuses, Greater Tomorrow Health, Hampton Inn & Suites, Invenergy, LLC, Merchants National Bank, Smith-Feike-Minton, Inc., United Way of Clinton County, Wilmington Savings Bank, Workforce Services Unlimited, Inc./OhioMeansJobs-Clinton County, Wilmington News Journal, and Wilmington College

Business:

Nominees: Ahresty Wilmington Corporation, Angela Reagan, Brian Larrick, Christopher Walls, Clinton Becker, Dr. Jody Gundler, Ken and Tara Lydy, and Shelby Boatman

Brian Larrick, JK Precast; anonymous nomination

Brian Larrick donated over 500 hours of his time supporting Clinton County Health District COVID vaccination efforts in planning, set up, tear down, check in and security support at every COVID vaccination clinic from December 2020 through April 2021. Brian, and his wife Kelly, as owners of JK Precast donated 100 Uhl’s Sabina Grocery gift cards in the amount of $25 each to individuals receiving COVID vaccinations during a vaccine distribution event this past May. Brian Larrick wanted to not only support individuals in need of grocery assistance, but also support a fellow small business owner affected by the economic impact of the COVID pandemic.

Brian Larrick, Business Recipient 

Clinton Becker, Wilmington Auto Center Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram; nominated by Jeff Burton, Robin Nolley, Susan Cox, and anonymous
Clinton Becker with Wilmington Auto Center has always gone above and beyond to help fellow citizens and be a positive influence. Organizing numerous fundraisers for individuals/families who have suffered some sort of hardship, he is continuously looking for ways to help raise money for families and local non-profits, such as his new Connect4 Clinton County organization, and to bring the community together. Clinton uses his past to set examples for others to show that you can overcome obstacles in life and achieve whatever goals you set for yourself.  Everyone knows him as #thehonestcarguy and that name couldn’t suit him any better.

Ken and Tara Lydy, Papsy’s Place; nominated by Lexi Arehart McBrayer

The Lydys have worked very hard in the Clinton County community to bring sweet treats to the locals and visitors. Their local frozen yogurt and soft serve ice cream shop has taken off since opening three years ago. Between their work with the local theater Department, the local dance studio, and the Murphy theater, the Lydys are a great addition to our community. The small shop may not look like much from the outside, except for a bright pink building, but inside it’s filled with so many laughs and open arms willing to help anyone no matter the situation. Their business and their commitment are a blessing to Clinton County.

 

Citizen:

Nominees: Annen Vance, Brian Larrick, Brittany Fetters, Carole Nichols, Chad McKay, Christopher Walls, Clinton Becker, Darcy Reynolds, Dr. Jody Gundler, First Christian Church, Harry Brumbaugh, Karen Long, Molly Boatman, Monte Anderson, Nancy Rudduck, Nick Eveland, Ray Souder, and Sarah Hawley

Dr. Chad McKay, anonymous nomination

At Wilmington College, Dr. Chad McKay currently serves as an academic advisor and professor of the largest agriculture concentration on campus, an advisor to several organizations: Sigma Alpha Sorority, Delta Tau Alpha Honor Society, and more; as well as serving as the Agriculture Program and Farm Financial Director of the college. Although he is busy within his work, he never fails to support his students in all of their endeavors. His flexibility, willingness to show up, and ability to influence is admirable. According to one student nominator, “Chad’s influence has given me a stronger sense of my values, personal mission, and this thing we call life.” Another expressed, “His strong advocacy for the community of Wilmington, Ohio and its roots within agriculture has inspired me to call Wilmington my home rather than a place where I go to school.”

Dr. Chad McKay, Citizen Recipient

Harry Brumbaugh, nominated by Peggy Morgan
Harry Brumbaugh gives freely of his time and talents for the betterment of both Clinton County and the Village of Blanchester.  He is currently the Vice-President of the Clinton County Historical Society, a Blanchester Village Councilman, President of the Blanchester Food Pantry, and is a board of trustees’ member for the Grace United Methodist Church in Blanchester. His work with the Food Pantry has been particularly rewarding during the pandemic, since the organization was able to be a huge help to those suffering both job loss and illness due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  Harry is not new to exhibiting generosity, as he has spent a lifetime in the business of helping others.  Having been an educator for 31 years, Blanchester Mayor for 8 years, and a past board member for Ohio Living Cape May, he continues to demonstrate his dedication to giving his all for the benefit of others both past and present.

Karen Long, anonymous nomination
Karen Long is a life-long educator who clearly understands the importance of early literacy.  After retiring, she began collecting books and shelving for her vision- the Clinton County Laundromat Libraries.  She recognized that getting texts in children’s hands could be a game changer for so many families in our community. While waiting for a load of laundry to finish, children in Clinton County have access to a bookshelf full of high-interest books.  They have the option to read as many as they can while at the laundromat and even take a book or two with them to read later.  Karen has secured enough donations to periodically refresh books as well as add newly donated books.  Karen has expended her efforts to partner with organizations such as the Clinton County Farmers’ Market and the Dolly Parton Imagination Project.  Karen’s commitment to literacy in Clinton County is admirable.  Her outside the box thinking will connect many children with quality texts and experiences that they might not have otherwise.

Nancy Rudduck, nominated by Ron Rudduck

As a longtime Clinton County educator, Nancy Rudduck touched the lives of thousands of students during her career. Since her retirement, she has continued to be that caring and compassionate person and especially was busy offering aid to those struggling with personal and health issues during this very difficult past year. This includes writing letters, sending cards, making phone calls, and even personal visits where permitted. More importantly, she has found time to be active in numerous civic groups throughout the county. Nancy volunteers her time and talents and serves in leadership roles with many groups such as the local Kiwanis, where she has chaired the College Scholarship Program. She works with the Clinton County Retired Teachers Association and serves as their Communication Director while doing the same for the Republican Women’s’ Organization. She is treasurer of the Brian Mudd Foundation and is very involved with management and the distribution of thousands of dollars of awards to individuals and groups throughout the county. During this past year, where communication was very challenging, she has used her talents and time to set up virtual meetings, publish newsletters, make phone calls, and assist members in general with staying connected. Her efforts were key in keeping these organizations active and viable.

Nancy Rudduck, Citizen Recipient

Education:

Nominees: Brad Ballinger, Chad McKay, David Beck, Dr. Angela Mitchell, Jim Marsh, Karen Long, Linda Larrick, Linda Miller, Rhonda Hedberg, Sigma Alpha- Gamma Alpha Chapter, and Wilmington City Schools Food Service Department

Jim Marsh (Posthumous Award), nominated by East Clinton Local Schools
Jim Marsh was a long term contributor to Clinton County, from his time coaching and teaching at Wilmington College to his tenure as the athletic director at East Clinton Local Schools. Jim was a champion for all children, with an emphasis on athletics. He wanted all children to have that sports team to rely on as a “second family”. Jim’s attitude was infectious and there was never a doubt that his motivation was the young adults coming through ECHS. Jim was a competitor, an encourager, and ultimately an advocate for all students (specifically student athletes). As athletic director Jim spent long nights away supporting the Astro athletes of all levels! He worked tirelessly to help start new teams and clubs at EC such as E-Sports, Swimming, and bowling! Jim will forever be remembered by his consistent response to the question “How’s it going today?”, with a smile he always replied “Super great and getting better!” And he meant it!

Jim Marsh, Education Recipient
Sigma Alpha – Gamma Alpha, Education Recipient

Sigma Alpha- Gamma Alpha Chapter, nominated by Amanda McKay

Sigma Alpha is a professional agricultural sorority that promotes scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship among its members. It is currently composed of 30 undergraduate students who all either major in or have specific interests within the agriculture industry. The Gamma Alpha chapter focuses on service that helps meet the needs of the local community. In the spring of 2021, they partnered with the Clinton County Foundation to support Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program through events, community partnerships, and a total donation of $7,159. They were also able to increase the enrollment in the program by 200 children during this time period. In this unprecedented year, these outstanding women not only persevered, but rose to the top and were able to unselfishly help and support others around them, all while maintaining an average group GPA of 3.64. They are truly inspirational, exceedingly hard workers, incredible role models, and care very deeply about this agricultural community. 

Wilmington City Schools Food Service Department; nominated by Curt Bone, representing Wilmington City Schools

Our Wilmington City Schools Food Service Department stepped up big this summer!  Changes in the Seamless Summer Option program allowed the Food Service Department to completely redesign their summer lunch program to provide an opportunity for any child (18 and under) in Clinton County to pick up their weekly meals.  With supply chain issues, they completely redesigned their menus and set up a new pick up program.   With this drive-thru model, staff prepared, sorted, and then loaded meal bags into participating family vehicles in the summer sun or the pouring rain.  They were able to provide breakfast and lunch bags that held seven meals for each child.  In past summer programs, they averaged about 300 lunches a week, but through this program they served about 10 times the number of lunches AND breakfast for each week.   Through their tireless effort this summer, they were able to provide 70,121 breakfast and lunches to kids in Clinton County!

Wilm. City Schools Food Service Department, Education Recipient 

Healthcare:

Nominees: Council on Aging, Dr. Jody Gundler, HealthSource of Ohio-Wilmington, and Pam Walker Bauer

Council on Aging; nominated by Paula Smith, representing Council on Aging and the Clinton County Health District
Since January 2021, Council on Aging (COA), the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for Clinton County and four other counties in southwestern Ohio, has been helping older adults get vaccinated against COVID-19. COA staff have helped older adults find and schedule vaccine appointments, and when necessary, provided transportation to those appointments. As COA staff helped older adults navigate this process, another need quickly emerged: vaccinating individuals who could not leave their homes. In Clinton County, COA found a willing and enthusiastic partner in Pam Bauer and her team at the Clinton County Health District. COA developed protocols and procedures to identify and track individuals who required in-home vaccinations. This information was shared weekly with the Clinton County Health District and other local health departments, who then reached out to individuals to schedule vaccination appointments. “We have always addressed the homebound population for other vaccinations,” said Pamela Walker-Bauer, health commissioner for the Clinton County Health District. “It was helpful for COA to help us identify additional individuals beyond our more regular clients for the COVID vaccine.” COA continues to work with the Clinton County Health District, and other local health departments, to coordinate in-home vaccinations for those who need them.

Dr. Jody Gundler; nominated by Reilly Hopkins, representing the Village of Blanchester

Dr. Jody “the Doc” Gundler is a shining star in the Blanchester community and has been for many years. The “Doc” has lived in Blanchester his entire life, and when it came down to where to begin his dentistry career, there was only one choice – Blanchester. Throughout his career, Dr. Gundler has given back to those in need and the youngest members of our community in countless ways. He has coached many youth sports teams and has been very active in youth groups at the Elevation Community Church. Dr. Gundler and Tony Akers started the Build Ministry, a Christian men’s group that helps people in need of small construction projects and offers a transition house for people who are down on their luck. The Doc also visits local elementary schools during the month of February for Dental Health Awareness Month. For many years, Dr. Gundler has worked at The Exchange, another Built Ministry project in Blanchester, serving meals to children. Finally, Dr. Gundler has helped out with the annual Christmas Dinner since its inception 15 years ago. This great man has made a huge impact in the lives of so many and we are blessed to have him in this community. 

Dr. Jody Gundler, Healthcare Recipient

Pam Walker Bauer, nominated by Rev. Dr. Tom Stephenson

Throughout the past 20 months, it has become clear that Pam Walker Bauer has at heart the betterment of our community, seeking to protect us from a plethora of illnesses that threaten the health and wholeness of the people. In spite of great professional and personal trials to carry out her mission as the director of the Clinton County Health Department, Pam has never wavered in her commitment to love her neighbors with all the gifts and abilities that God and people have entrusted to her. Her spirit, demeanor and expertise are examples to every servant-leader of how to live into the work to which they have been called with integrity and grace.

Non-Profit:

Nominees: Annen Vance, Carole Nichols, Clinton Becker, Council on Aging, Darcy Reynolds, Dr. Jody Gundler, Lois Hock, Shelby Boatman, Sigma Alpha- Gamma Alpha Chapter, and Timothy Larrick

Darcy Reynolds, Main Street Wilmington; nominated by Andrew Conarroe and Angela Mitchell
Darcy Reynolds leads Main Street Wilmington to success through her commitment to our community and hours upon hours of dedication to making our town the best it can be. During the pandemic she was instrumental in helping the downtown businesses survive through creative initiatives and information sharing about grants and help available. She secured a grant for our organization to assist with our expenses when we had no revenue for the entire year. Main Street Wilmington has thrived and is booming because of Darcy’s vision and leadership!  This spring, Darcy agreed to help a few business owners on Sugartree Street transform an empty, muddy lot into a mixed-use, community space – The Sugartree Community Square.  She is selfless and has such a heart for all things Wilmington. As one nominator states, “One of my favorite things about Darcy is that ‘Community is Everything’ isn’t just something she says – It’s how she lives. As the Director of Main Street Wilmington, she works tirelessly to show love and bring love to our Community.”

Lois Hock, Kids and Company; nominated by Ken and Tara Lydy
Lois Hock created Kids and Company 28 years ago.  Her mission; to provide arts experiences to the children of Clinton County.  Kids and Company hosts live theatre productions, drama camps, and outside professional theatre company performances here in Wilmington. While drama camps are offered for a small fee, everything else is free of charge to both participants and audience members. Everything is funded through grants and private donations that Lois works on tirelessly throughout the year to keep this program going.  Kids and Company’s recent summer musical productions featured children of all ages from different school districts here in Clinton County.  Kids and Company Productions have between 40-60 kids in the cast and crew, many returning year after year.  Kids and Company is a wonderful summer theatre arts program for children.  A program that continues 28 years later because of the hard work and efforts of Lois Hock.

Timothy Larrick, The Murphy Theatre, nominated by Shari Rolston

Recently retired Artistic Director for the Murphy Theatre, Timothy Larrick deserves serious props! He always went above and beyond in providing innovative and creative new Christmas Shows. Recruiting and managing such a large cast (especially the Murphy Children) was no small task. He will most certainly be missed in future events.  In addition to his many years Directing and performing on stage, he gave countless hours of his own time to emcee (often) for other Murphy Shows and events. Timothy’s love for Wilmington and the surrounding community is apparent in the way he supports a multitude of local businesses. His enthusiasm and generosity in the community does not go unnoticed. 

Youth:

Nominees: Jenna Norman, Jocelyn Engel, and the Wilmington H.S. – GSA

Jenna Norman, nominated by Logan Florea
In and outside of the school setting, Jenna is an inspiration to friends and fellow classmates. During her Junior year, (2019-2020) Jenna completed the Leadership Clinton Youth Collaborative, and spearheaded their service project – sensory bags for our local fire departments. This past school year, (2020-21), Jenna was the president of the National Honor Society, Vice President of the Student Council, and a co-founder of the Youth Advocates for Change (Y4AC) Ohio Chapter. Jenna also worked as an intern with the Clinton County Board of Elections. Jenna worked in the 2020 Presidential Election, and 2021 August Special Primary Election. She was a 2021 participant of the High School Student Congress, and was also the winner of numerous scholarships including, The Outstanding Women of Clinton County Award.  Jenna boldly exemplifies what a young leader should be, and is a proud example for this generation.  Jenna will be attending Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in Political Science to be a policy analyst.

Jocelyn Engel, nominated by Joshua Engel
Jocelyn Engel has shown exceptional commitment to our community by working to assure that the diversity of our community is respected and encouraged.  At Wilmington High School, Jocelyn has been instrumental in forming an organization to support LGTBQ students.  She has shown a commitment to address gender-based harassment and is working to help her fellow students develop awareness of the issues faced by LGTBQ students in the schools. 

Wilmington H.S. – GSA; nominated by Andrew Conarroe, representing Art House

At the time of nomination, the Wilmington High School – GSA consists of 5 members. GSA Clubs are student-run organizations that unite LGBTQ+ and allied youth to build community and organize around issues impacting them in their schools and communities.  It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to start something from the ground up – but these kids are doing it. They identified a need and are doing the real work to fill it. Research confirms that the presence of a GSA has a positive and lasting effect on student health, wellness, and academic performance. It can also protect students from harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and improve school climates for all students in the long-term. The GSA and Art House worked together over the Summer to organize and execute two successful FREE Community Art Projects. As their nominator stated, “I got to witness their positive and enthusiastic interactions with the community, hear more of their ideas, and see such promise. These are smart, determined, and confident teens.” Despite their small numbers, they are on a mission to make the world a little better. They are an excellent example and inspiration to our community as a whole. 

WHS – GSA, Youth Recipient 

2020 “Clinton County Community Champions”