Community service, business of the year awards are Saturday night

May 1, 2014

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Four individuals and one group have been nominated to receive the 2013 Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce’s community service award. The award will be presented Saturday during the chamber’s annual dinner at Lincoln Hills Golf Club in Hamlin Township. Also being presented that evening will be the recipient of the Business of the Year award and presentation of the Future Five recipients.

Nominations are made by the public and decided upon by the chamber board of directors. The recipient is kept secret until the dinner.

Nominated this year are Joe Cooper, Marcia Hansen, Vic Burwell, Wally Taranko and the Western Michigan Fair Board.

– Joe Cooper. Cooper was nominated by local business owner Brad Reed. He is probably best known as his work as chief of Riverton Township Fire Department.

“Joe is one of the hidden heroes in Mason County,” Reed wrote in his nomination letter. “He tries to stay out of the lime light because he is so humble, but it is time that Joe gets recognized for all that he does for all the citizens of Mason County.”

– Marcia Hansen. Hansen serves as secretary for the Western Michigan Fair Association and serves on other committees in that group as well. She is a board member of Safe Harbor Credit Union, past board member of the Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, past 4-H leader, member of the Mason County Cultural Economic Committee, among a list of many other volunteerism she is involved in.

– Vic Burwell was nominated by Jim Scatena, CEO/President of FloraCraft. Burwell is vice president of FloraCraft but is also active or has been active with the Mason County Sports Hall of Fame, Mason County Manufacturers’ Association, United Way, Mason County Right to Life, Gus Macker Tournament, Community Mental Health and the board of education for Covenant Christian School.

– Wally Taranko was nominated by Mayor Ryan Cox. Taranko is a former Ludington Police Chief, city councilor, marina board member and director of the local chapter of the American Red Cross. He is also a former Mason County emergency coordinator.

– The Western Michigan Fair Board was nominated by Mary Jo Kroeze. “It is impossible to provide an exact number of hours this dedicated group of individuals gives each year because they keep no record and because the number of hours appears irrelevant to all of them,” Kroeze wrote. “However, it is easy to see they are giving thousands of combined unselfish hours each year to attend meetings, maintain the upkeep of the grounds, plan and complete the improvements, work at the numerous events throughout the year, and of course the week long Western Michigan Fair.”

In addition to the community service award, five businesses have been nominated for Business of the Year. They include: Adams Construction of Free Soil, Kaines West Michigan Wire Company of Ludington, the Mitten Bar of Ludington, NorthStar Chiropractic and CrossFit of Ludington and Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital.

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