Local honored for service

A local woman struggled to find the words to show her appreciation and tears welled up in her eyes after she was named the recipient of an annual prestigious award in Wapakoneta and being recognized for her passion for helping others.

Carol Berg was named the 2012 Citizen of the Year at the 2012 Community Awards Banquet, sponsored by the Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce.

Berg, who is a volunteer in the community, an active member at her church, St. Paul United Church of Christ, and the chairperson of God’s Storehouse, said she loves helping others and bettering the lives of those in need.

“I was blown away,” Berg said of the surprise of the award presented to her. “It just takes so many people to do all of these things. I couldn’t do it without the support of people who are committed.”

The main focus of God’s Storehouse is to provide not only food, but clothing and home needs for local individuals in need.

Berg said God’s Storehouse was recently able to provide furniture for two families in need.

“We do so many things with God’s Storehouse,” Berg said. “Our focus and goal is to take care of our clients.”

God’s Storehouse is supported by the community and donations from agencies and individuals.

“Everything we do is to try to make life better for other people,” Berg said.

Along with her work with God’s Storehouse, she is involved in many projects and activities at her church, along with helping to start a youth group when her two sons — Matt and Monte — were in high school.

“I love working with kids,” Berg said.

Berg said she and her husband, Jim, almost did not make it to the awards banquet Thursday evening at The Grand Plaza, as they have a farm business, and she thought they would be harvesting crops.

“Two days ago, I heard the Chamber was having their annual dinner and Mark Short, a member of St. Paul United Church of Christ, said I needed to be there,” Berg said. “I didn’t know if we could make it because we are taking our crops off.”

But Berg said someone insisted that she be there, and it was her first time attending, and she was blindsided by the award, as tears filled her eyes as she gave a few words to the crowd after receiving the award.

“I am very humbled to be given this honor,” Berg said. “If it weren’t for volunteers, this wouldn’t happen. I am very blessed to be working with such a fine group of people.”

The chamber board 1st Vice President Brian Schlosser presented the award to Berg and read the nomination speech.

“The Citizen of the Year is presented to a person who has shown a dedicated interest to the community through participation and leadership in several areas within our community,” Schlosser said. “This year’s recipient has dedicated her time to the betterment of our community in many ways. ... She spends countless hours every week as a chairperson of God’s Storehouse.”

Schlosser noted Berg also coordinates the Postal Carrier Food Drive in May, the Boy Scout Food Drive in October, serving as chairperson for the Thanksgiving turkey meals and Easter ham dinners, encourages others to walk and donate to the CROP Walk and assists in helping others maintain their homes and needed chores during the annual Servants Day in Wapakoneta.

Wapakoneta Parks and Recreation Supervisor Gabe Coil was also recognized for his efforts in the community and was named the 2012 Outstanding Employee of the Year.

“He has a love for where he works and gives his time to the boys of summer as a coach and groundskeeper,” chamber board President Dan Lee said.

Coil also was surprised as he accepted the award.

“It feels really good to be recognized,” Coil said. “My job isn’t a job. I love what I do and I have a passion for what I do. I take pride in making the park look good. It’s been a lot of fun.”

The Rev. Elaine and Dr. Alan Mikesell received the 2012 Ambassador Award for all the work they do overseas, with helping the less fortunate and providing dental work and surgeries for those in need. They also share the gospel and provide all they can through numerous mission trips they’ve been on.

“This is all about the blessing that God has given us,” Elaine Mikesell said. “The love we have received from people we visit all over the world. We go and see people we don’t know and we come out as friends.”

Elaine Mikesell noted there are so many people around the world with so many needs.

“You and I didn’t do a thing to deserve the blessings from God,” Elaine Mikesell said. “Thank you and remember those in other countries who are in need of our love and prayer.”

Wapakoneta YMCA Director Josh Little presented the Mikesells with the award and noted that this award is given to someone who has promoted a positive image of the community to those people outside Wapakoneta.

“This pair has represented our community in many different countries and in our own,” Little said. “They have participated in numerous mission trips which have taken them to Puerto Rico, Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.”

Little noted during these trips, the couple put their skills to use by helping our people in need, and these skills include spiritual guidance and dental services.

“As part of their mission trips, they engage other members of the community including several youth from St. Paul United Church of Christ,” Little said. “Their journeys have been both life changing for themselves and those they have touched through their travels.”

Another dedicated citizen stepped up to the podium to receive the award for 2012 Outstanding Business Person of the Year.

John Johnson, of Stroh, Johnson and Co., who has many involvements in the community, said he is thankful for the recognition.

“My staff does a great job,” Johnson said. “I do this so my kids have an opportunity to come back. but I also enjoy it.”

The 2012 Volunteer of the Year went to Nathan Sell, and his son Eric Sell, accepted his award on his behalf, as Nathan Sell was unable to attend.

Nathan Sell has been a midget football coach for the Wapak Warriors for the past 20 years, and during this time, he has seen the kids he coached grow into adults.

“The most rewarding thing he gets from coaching is seeing his kids grow and watching their career and being remembered by the kids sits well with him,” Eric said.

Receiving the Non-Profit Organization of the Year Award was Auglaize County Council on Aging (ACCA).

ACCA Director Christina Roby accepted the award, and thanked the county residents for their support.

“I am going to be there (ACCA) someday and I want those services to continue,” Roby said.

The Non-Profit Organization of the Year award is presented to an organization that has shown a dedication to the improvement of the quality of life within the Wapakoneta community.

ACCA serves as an outlet for local seniors and their families to participate in educational sessions and activities within their peer groups.

Homestretch Inc. was honored with the Most Improved Commercial Property.

Owners Donna and Don Hesse accepted the award.

This award is presented to a business that has improved the aesthetic appearance of its property and a business that has taken a less than eye appealing property and make noticeable improvements visible to the passer by.

A year ago, they purchased a Chinese restaurant, which was the old Brown’s Restaurant building at 910 Bellefontaine St.

Pam and Ron Garman accepted the award for the Most Improved Residential Property, for their home at 202 E. Pearl St.

 This award is presented to a home owner who has improved the aesthetic appearance of their property.

The journey has taken a long time for the couple, as they purchased their home in 1987.

They started from the ground up as they remodeled the home inside and out.

Lee noted that the award recipients are outstanding people who have represented the community in a positive way.

“I love Wapakoneta,” Lee said. “It’s a great place to raise a family and a great place to have a business.”