The theme of the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner was “Uniting Business and Community.”
The event, which took place Nov. 10 at the NorthStar Golf Club in Sunbury, drew a packed house of Chamber members. Along with the dinner, the Chamber held its annual meeting, and new members were welcomed with applause.
Executive Director John Fox was thanked for taking over the job in May, and then was immediately tasked with planning for Sunbury’s bicentennial bash.
“We’ve had quite a few new members this year,” Fox said. “The entrepreneurial spirit is truly alive and well in this area, and I love it.”
Board President Chauncey Montgomery said that with “Sunbury being such a hot place in Ohio right now, we’re focusing on being more proactive, working with governments and businesses.”
In addition to economic development, the Chamber is trying “to improve the activities we’re involved in.” Montgomery said.
“We’re people that are serving other people trying to make this a better place to live,” he said.
Three awards were presented.
Sunbury Chief of Police Pat Bennett received the Community Service Award. A graduate of Big Walnut High School, Bennett said he is retiring in February.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve in the community I grew up in,” Bennett said.
Forman Realtors won the Business of the Year Award. Managing Broker Mike Forman said he didn’t know the company, celebrating its 50th anniversary, was going to win.
The Chamber Board Service Award went to Marc Hogenbirk, of whom it was said had devoted countless hours to making Sunbury a better place to live and work. In accepting the award, Hogenbirk handed over a football signed by Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer, to be used for charity.
There was a silent auction, the proceeds of which went to Big Walnut Friends Who Share, who were going to buy Christmas presents for local children in need. Included in the auction items, Dave Knowlton of Sunbury was one of the winners of a one-year subscription to The Sunbury News.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.