MIDDLEPORT — The Meigs County Chamber of Commerce held its annual gala at the Middleport Church of Christ Thursday evening, honoring members of the business community.
During the ceremony, five awards were handed out to businesses — Best First Impressions, Economic Impact, Entrepreneur of the Year, Community Pillar, and Lifetime Business Achievement.
The Best First Impressions Award was presented to Tuckerman’s on Lincoln. The owners took an empty building in Middleport — which housed Tuckerman’s years ago — and renovated the structure into a quaint shop where homemade oils, soaps, art work and other original amenities can be purchased.
The Economic Impact Award was presented to Mark Porter for opening up his new dealership, employing numerous county members. Porter recently opened Mark Porter Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram at the site of his former GM dealership in Pomeroy.
The Entrepreneur of the Year was given to the Buckeye Valley Outdoors LLC which has shown “outstanding growth” from when the business originally began. The business, located on Hiland Road sells a variety of outdoor products, including ATVs.
Brian Conde said he was honored to present the Community Pillar Award to Dick Owen, a man he regards as someone with, “his priorities in perfect order.” The winner was described as a devoted member of his church and has given countless hours of his time to better the community. Owen, owner of Locker 219, has maintained his business for 38 years. Owen was described as a beloved family man who knows his costumers as friends.
T.J. King presented the last award of the night, Lifetime Achievement Award, to a business that has aided in the growth and achievement of Meigs County. Ace Hardware will be celebrating its 65th year of business. Tim King has went from worker to owner over the years. His parents were the original owners at the opening in 1952, but gave Tim and his wife, Edie, the reigns years later. They are both dedicated, innovated individuals who always help their customers with a smile, according to the chamber.
In addition to the awards, John Hoback, president of the chamber, shared news about the organization. The annual spring dinner raised over $9,000 which aides in granting a Meigs student with a $2,000 scholarship to the University of Rio Grande. He mentioned the work done with The Daily Sentinel on the visitor’s guide at the start of the year and the availability of a series of videos about local businesses, Kountry Resort Campground being the first to have one. Hoback recognized chamber board members, the chamber ambassadors, and Director Whitney Thoene for all of the hard work they have done this year.
After awards, Linda Warner spoke about the Meigs County Community Fund which helps those who suffer from poverty. Their goal is to have 200 people donate a total of $3,000 between 2018 and 2022. Each participant would be giving $50 a month. They hope to find their donors by the Meigs County bicentennial in 2019.
The keynote speaker of the evening was former football coach for The Ohio State University, John Cooper.
To begin his speech Cooper gave high regards to his wife who has stood by his side since they were in high school. He said he had a, “great trip coming down,” because the journey was reminiscent of going home. Cooper is a native to Tennessee, but has spread his wings across the country.
After high school, he joined the service and had to live overseas for a time. On his return to the states, he went to university and then pursued his career as a college football coach. He coached at a few other colleges before starting his time at The Ohio State University in 1988.
When it came to finding future players, he looked for boys who, “can play better than we can coach.” To win them over he would sell the impressive academics OSU has to offer, assured the players they would receive recognition, and lastly gave them a real hope that their chance of being signed by a professional team was likely.
Cooper wanted to remind all attendees to “make every day a Friday” in your mind and “make everyday a good day.”
“Do not be afraid to take risks or to chase the life that is desired.”
Erin Perkins is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and will be joining our staff full-time on Nov. 6.