The Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual auction and dinner at Ohio Wesleyan University's Hamilton-Williams Campus Center on Jan. 29.

The Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual auction and dinner at Ohio Wesleyan University's Hamilton-Williams Campus Center on Jan. 29.

The event also honored businesses and individuals for their accomplishments and service to the community.

The Council for Older Adults received the Small Business Award, given to a business that has been in operation for at least five years and has fewer than 50 employees.

Nominations cited COA's work with the community, helping older people to stay in their homes with dignity, and the "unselfish commitment of the council's leadership and the unwavering dedication of its staff and volunteers," said chamber chair-elect Scott Cubberly in his introduction of the winner.

Oberfield's Inc., a third generation, family-owned business, was honored as the Large Business award winner.

Last fall, when it was discovered 154-year-old masonry work was crumbling at the Delaware Arts Castle, the company stepped in and developed a plan to restore three staircases and a patio, donating the materials and labor for the project, Cubberly said.

The Women's Leadership Award was presented to Patricia Foor, former superintendent of the Delaware Area Career Center.

"Actively engaged within the county and her industry, this year's winner has been an effective leader who transformed the image, and enhanced the opportunities with the career center," Cubberly said.

"The Citizen of the Year has been described as inspirational and having been actively involved" in the community, Cubberly said in announcing that Bill Edmonds was this year's recipient.

For more than 15 years, Edmonds has led efforts to restore and maintain the Monett Garden and Austin Manor, Cubberly said. "He designs, plants, waters, weeds, assembles volunteers, cleans and preps for winter -- all for the reward of following his passion."

Jack Hilborn presented the Wayne Hilborn Lifetime Achievement Award, named for his father, to attorney Marianne Gabel, who is in her fourth term as a member of the Delaware City Schools Board of Education.

Gabel was chosen for her "selfless service to teachers and students," her service as a guardian ad litem, and her advocacy for environmental issues, Jack Hilborn said.

Larry Cline presented the Farm Family of the Year Award to Mike and Teresa Watkins, lifetime county residents who live in Radnor Township

In 1979, Mike Watkins began with 10 sows and grew the business until he was marketing almost 3,000 hogs a year when he sold the livestock in 2007, Cline said. During that time the farm grew from 126 acres to more than 1,000 acres today, on which he grows corn, soybeans and wheat.

His wife taught school in Westerville for 30 years and both ran a 4-H Club, Cline said. Mike Watkins has also has served as a Radnor Township trustee since 1989.