Longtime Bexley community leaders Jeff and Kathy Frank will receive the Drexel Hero Award as part of the 2013 Drexel Gala to be held Oct. 17 in Bexley.

Longtime Bexley community leaders Jeff and Kathy Frank will receive the Drexel Hero Award as part of the 2013 Drexel Gala to be held Oct. 17 in Bexley.

The Franks are former owners of the Drexel.

The Friends of the Drexel nonprofit organization created the award to recognize the contributions of individuals for their support of the Drexel Theatre and independent film in the community.

The Franks acquired the Drexel, located at 2254 E. Main St., in 1981 and through it brought independent, foreign, classic and art films to central Ohio for 32 years.

"The Franks built the brand and poured their heart and soul into the Drexel for years with little reward," said Richard Stoff, chairman of the Friends of the Drexel Board, in a press release. "On behalf of a grateful community, we are proud to recognize their dedication and artistic contributions with the Drexel Hero Award."

Jeff Frank is the founder and former president of Drexel Theatres Inc. Along with his wife, he restored the 1937 art deco movie theater and reopened it in 1981.

Kathy Frank managed the businesses side of the Drexel operations. She previously served as adult-services coordinator for the Columbus Metropolitan Library and education associate at the Columbus Museum of Art.

Eventually, the Drexel became a three-screen theater and added the Drexel Radio Cafe.

In 1993, the Franks restored and reopened the 1926 single-screen Drexel Grandview Theatre at 1247 Grandview Ave. and took on management of the Drexel North Theatre at 4250 N. High St.

In 2001, they formed Drexel Management Inc. to assist on the design construction and management of the eight-screen Arena Grand Theatre, 175 W. Nationwide Blvd., and more recently, the eight-screen Gateway Film Center, 1550 N. High St.

The Friends of the Drexel formed in 2009 to work to ensure the long-term viability of the East Main Street theater. The group purchased the Drexel's assets from the Franks in 2011 and converted the theater into a nonprofit organization and hired central Ohio arts organization CAPA to manage the theater.

After Friends of the Drexel acquired the East Main Street theater, Jeff Frank became operations manager and was promoted to artistic director in 2012. Earlier this year, he became artistic director emeritus.

During his tenure with the Drexel, Jeff Frank received the National Association of Theatre Owners Theatre Marketer of the Year Award, the Public Relations Society of America Award, the Central Ohio chapter Prism Marketing Award of the Year and with Kathy, the Columbus Landmarks Foundation Outstanding Patron Award for Historic Preservation.

The 2013 Drexel Gala, co-chaired by Roberta and Rick Terapak and Ann and Don Casto, will be presented at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 at the home of Jeff Ramm and Neal Hauschild in Bexley. For more information about the gala, visit Drexel.net.