PETOSKEY — Several local people were honored for business and community efforts Tuesday at the 26th annual Breakfast for Champions program at the Odawa Casino.
About 500 people attended the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce event, which used the motto “I Love This Town!” as its theme, said chamber president Carlin Smith.
One of the event’s prestigious honors, the Chairman’s Award, went to Al Hansen, who retired earlier this year as Petoskey’s city parks and recreation director. The award recognizes people or entities that have a significant impact on the local region. Hansen, who spent nearly three decades on Petoskey’s city staff, was involved with projects such as the Little Traverse Wheelway and Winter Sports Park.
“He has been recognized in the past for a project here and a project there, but now we can recognize the man behind those projects,” Smith said.
Mary Foster of Fletch’s GMC Buick Audi snagged the high-profile Athena Award, which aims to celebrate the potential of all women. Foster’s professionalism and involvements with Give Kids a Chance, United Way’s Stuff the Bus campaign and McLaren Foundation’s breast cancer awareness program were noted at the event.
In addition, Jan Davies McDermott, a representative of Athena International, came to the ceremony to honor Petoskey’s longstanding tradition of handing out the award. Dave Kring of Dave Kring Chevrolet-Cadillac received a top honor from the organization for sponsoring the award for more than 25 years.
This year marked the first time the Thriving Petoskey Award was handed out at the event, with Stafford’s Hospitality and Ward and Eis Gallery in Petoskey both receiving it. Jennifer Eis accepted the award and noted how her late husband, Don Ward, insisted a portion of the gallery’s funds be used to benefit the community.
The Thriving Petoskey Award is meant to honor enterprises that are stakeholders of the conscious capitalism movement, a business approach aimed at benefiting both the larger world. The award was sponsored by First Community Bank, Harbor/Brenn Insurance Agencies, McLaren Northern Michigan, Petoskey News-Review and the Rasmussen, Teller, O’Neil & Christman accounting firm.
Jeff Neill of OsborneKlein was honored as Ambassador of the Year. Sponsored by PNC Bank, this award recognizes someone who promotes the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Pat Fralick, retired director of family and community health at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, received the Leadership Star Award, which recognizes an exceptional leader in the Little Traverse Bay region.
Lisa Blanchard, chairperson of Leadership Little Traverse, noted Fralick’s community involvements throughout the years, including service on the Women’s Resource Center’s board of directors and local Child Abuse Prevention Council.
“Our recipient is one of those quiet, ‘servant’ leaders who hasn’t sought the spotlight or special recognition. Many of you may not even know her. But I bet many of you have been impacted by her work,” Blanchard said.
Marty Van De Car was honored with the Community Enthusiast Award, sponsored by Bill’s Farm Market and Home Depot, which is given to a citizen that’s passionate about the local community. Van De Car was described at the event as “being everybody’s friend” and being the first to share community happenings on Facebook.
Two sets of business owners were selected for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Chemical Bank: Ben Slocum and Peter Manthei of Beards Brewery, along with Brian and Anne Bates of Bear Creek Organic Farm.
“Beards Brewery was born during a time that these guys were busy with other things in life, but they carved out time to get things rolling,” said Shaun Michael Osborne of OsborneKlein.
Osborne noted Bear Creek Organic Farm has already achieved three times what they set out to do over 10 years.
“Interestingly, this is a tale of first-generation farmers that could have migrated in many directions, but chose to focus on making a difference and affecting change in agriculture and the community,” Osborne said of the business.
Petoskey-Bay View Country Club received the Service Excellence Award, sponsored by Stafford’s Hospitality. Award presenter Stafford Smith said a committee questioned whether a private club should be considered for the honor, since it caters to a private membership. But members also considered the service people get to experience during the club’s numerous charity events.
In addition, several community members and entities received architectural and renovation awards, which were sponsored by Preston Feather Building Center.
The design award was given to the Young & Meathe Properties office on West Mitchell Street in Petoskey. An honorable mention went to the new ambulance station constructed by Emmet County on Eppler Road.
Artist Abby Kent was honored with the beautification award for work to preserve the “ghost signs” on the Grand Traverse Pie Company building in downtown Petoskey. An honorable mention went to the re-designed flower garden adjacent to the tunnel at Bayfront Park.
The heritage award was presented for the renovation and vertical expansion work done at the former downtown site of Ben Franklin Crafts, a project overseen by East Jordan-based Howard Property Partners. W.W. Fairbairn and Sons in Alanson received an honorable mention, and special commendation was given for the events and observatory building at Emmet County’s Headlands International Dark Sky Park.
Smith noted people can contact him this week to nominate someone they believe should be honored at next year’s event. He can be contacted at Media
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