As a rule, meetings of any sort that last longer than an hour make me nervous --- but last evening's annual meeting of Chariton Chamber & Development Corporation was an exception. Where else would you see the principals and staffs of our four leading financial institutions --- U.S. Bank, Midwest Heritage Bank, Great Western Bank and Community 1st Credit Union --- willingly make joyous fools of themselves in a lip sync competition?
Personally, I thought U.S. Bank had the edge --- their song was kind of original. But it ended in a tie based on applause and general audience noise between that institution and Midwest Heritage, which was fine. Alas, Great Western and Community 1st.
It's also fun at a deal like this to see who will be honored with the top awards, and it was a deserving group.
Denny Bisgard, who manages to almost always to keep smiling while involved in much of occasionally frustrating consequence --- ranging from City Council to Chamber and beyond --- is Chariton's new Citizen of the Year. Good. He received his award from Byron Welch, a citizen-of-the-year-emeritus now retired and living in Topeka, Kansas. That's Denny at right above, Byron at left.
Two Lifetime Achievement awards were announced. Vern Vogel, also involved in nearly everything of consequence during more than 45 years in Chariton, was present to accept his honor, but Gary and Betty Pepping along with faithful canine mascot, Pearl, were unabile to attend.
The Humanitarian Award, given less frequently and in this case not since 2005, went to the Rev. Allen Weise. I flubbed that photo, but you can catch him live any Sunday morning at First United Methodist Church.
Since Methodist preachers tend to move around a lot, Weise hasn't been in Chariton that long but certainly has set an example other preachers (not to be snippy about this or anything) could learn from --- leading his congregation in a renewal of service --- feeding the poor, clothing and otherwise assisting the needy, that sort of thing; as well as reaching out to young people in unprecedented ways.
This was kind of a transitional meeting, since the Chamber & Development Corporation will begin doing business July 1 after major and now nearly complete reorganization as Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street. I'll be part of the 13-member board of that organization --- more than a little intimidating.
The source of amazement when considering such awards is now much some people willingly give of themselves for the common good with little thought about what they might receive in return.
I've been noticing that this week on the museum campus. Two others at Thursday night's meeting --- former Mayor Bill Marner and retired businessman Bob Ulrich --- spent much of the day at the museum, before going home to clean up. Part of our north "hitching post" border fence has collapsed this spring. They're rooting out the stumps of rotted posts, a more complicated job than it might seem, and preparing to replace them. They're also deeply involved in the operations of our Ministry Center food bank and many other projects.
And then there's Kay Brown, with a strong assist from Sarah Palmer and Robin Kennedy, engaged for several weeks now in a marathon gardening effort on the museum campus. The grounds are looking better than they have in many years thanks to their efforts.
And all of these good works are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to giving in Lucas County.