Cowpokes and railroad tycoons bellied up to the bar and placed bids at a silent auction during the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce's 2012 Annual Awards Dinner Feb. 2 at Hickory Lakes.
The evening event, sponsored by Diley Ridge Medical Center, was billed as a "Western Round Up" and, in addition to food and entertainment, featured the chamber's 2012 Annual Awards Program.
Chamber President Helen Mayle said it was a rousing success, with numerous elected officials in attendance to issue official proclamations to the 2012 award recipients.
Among those attending were state Sen. Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville), state Rep. Gary Stebelton (R-Lancaster) and U.S. Congressman Steve Stivers.
Mayle said Stivers awarded all the recipients proclamations "... which is really, really cool. That's life altering, being recognized by the federal government," she said.
She said having politicians in attendance at the annual chamber dinner is expected every year, not just in an election year.
"It's important to them to be seen. but also their constituents need to know that they're supportive of them," Mayle said.
The four major awards presented at this years event were:
Business of the Year: Wagner Insurance
Mayle said owner Rick Wagner has been a very engaged chamber member who has brought his llamas to numerous non-profit and community events in the area.
"He's the llama guy," Mayle said. "If someone wants the PR for their organization, Rick brings his llamas and it brings people in.
"He does that many times for different organizations," said Mayle, who added that Wagner is also an "outstanding member" of the chamber's Ambassador Committee. "He's very generous with his time," Mayle said.
New Business of the Year: Tyler's Light
Mayle said Tyler's Light was formed in memory of Tyler Campbell, "whose life ended too soon."
She said the non-profit organization "has made a huge impact" in its short existence, bringing much needed attention to the growing drug problem in Pickerington and Fairfield County and throughout Ohio.
She said Tyler's Light also serves as a forum to help equip communities with information and resources to help young adults choose a drug-free life.
"A lot of people say it doesn't happen here, but it does," Mayle said. "(Tyler's Light) really keeps things moving forward."
Community Service of the Year: Jeff Myers
Mayle said Myers was instrumental in revamping the very successful PCMA Pickerington Food Pantry.
He lead a task force to change the way the pantry did business and was president of its Board of Directors until his recent retirement. He helped create a strategic plan and vision which in turn made it more "viable and stable."
Mayle said as a result of Myers' efforts, the Food Pantry "has expanded to meet the real needs of people as opposed to (providing them) with whatever was donated."
Doug Barr Safety Award: Greg Bachman
Mayle said Bachman, as Pickerington city engineer, has spearheaded numerous projects to help make Pickerington a much safer place in which to live.
She said he helped procure numerous grants including the ODOT Safety Grant for improvements on state Route 256 and his strategic work on the future widening of 256 has been invaluable.
"It will be great for businesses and residents, we're really looking forward to it." Mayle said.
Bachman, who is leaving his post with the city at the end of June, will be sorely missed, she said."He has just done so much for the safety of the community."