Address provides forum for applauding good work
Upper Arlington city officials recently recognized a host of residents for selflessness and contributions to their community.
As part of the Jan. 28 State of the City address, Upper Arlington officials handed out six awards for "exceptional service."
The 2012 Upper Arlington Community Awards were given to several Upper Arlington employees for distinguished service to the city, and additional honors were bestowed for achievements in business, community enrichment and community safety.
Additionally, the city honored both a local senior citizen and a youth for work in the community.
This year's Notable Team Project Award went to Upper Arlington Fleet Maintenance members Don Doran, Terry Baxter, Jeff Ferguson, Gary Hartig, Scott Ruoff and David King. They were lauded for customer service, keeping the city's vehicles and equipment in working order and taking on additional work through an agreement to maintain the Norwich Township Fire Department Fleet.
Rick Howard in the city's electrical division was honored for heading the city's recovery efforts in the wake of the June "derecho" windstorm, and Teresa Veit from the community and economic development department was recognized for "friendly service to residents and contractors needing assistance with building permits," Upper Arlington City Councilman Mike Schadek said.
Upper Arlington Community Affairs Director Emma Speight and Assistant City Attorney Tom Lindsey each received Distinguished Service Awards.
Schadek said Speight in 2012 provided exemplary service in communicating information about a police and fire pension levy and a ballot issue to allow alcohol sales throughout the Lane Avenue Community Entertainment District. Both measures passed handily last November.
Lindsey received recognition for protecting city interests in several court cases in 2012 exhibiting "great detail and diplomacy" in his daily work, Schadek said.
The 2012 Business of the Year award went to Michael Edwards Building & Design Inc.
"Michael resides in Upper Arlington and his familiarity with the city helps him to find underperforming infill lots and successfully redevelop them consistent with demand," Councilwoman Deborah Johnson said. "His homes further serve to complete underdeveloped neighborhoods in an appropriate and coordinated manner. His belief in constructing high-quality custom homes is evident in his reputation for unmatched interior finish work.
"In the past six years, he has been associated with 27 new and renovated home projects, creating in excess of $24 million in new residential construction value."
The 2012 Community Enrichment Award went to Sue Ralph, executive director of the Upper Arlington Community Foundation.
"The mother of a special needs child, Sue was instrumental in founding the Special Education Parents Advisory Group in the 1980s, bringing educators and parents together to solve issues for children," Councilman John Adams said. "She served on PTOs at every school her daughters attended, frequently taking extensive leadership roles, worked on and chaired successful UA School levies, and served on the UA Education Foundation Board for many years.
"Today, Sue serves as executive director of the Upper Arlington Community Foundation. Her knowledge, guidance and enthusiasm have grown awareness of the foundation, which in turn enables more people to make a difference."
Noted community volunteer Mark Shutt received the 2012 Community Safety Award for his work with the Upper Arlington Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association.
"Mark is currently president of the Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association, serving his second year as president," council Vice President Frank Ciotola said. "This is a time-consuming position, requiring him to head every meeting, meet regularly with UA's community relations officer, communicate with members and organize volunteer opportunities.
Councilman Erik Yassenoff presented Ron Wiggington, former president of the Upper Arlington Senior Advisory Council, with the Super Senior Award.
"Ron served as the president of the senior advisory council for four years," Yassenoff said. "As president, he attended the parks and recreation advisory board meetings and participated in many city events.
"Ron has coordinated weekly speakers for current events for the past 10 years. Ron has also attended public meetings held by the city while updating the (city's) master plan, and was a welcome contributor during the city's website update process in late 2009.
The city's final 2012 award, the Youth Award, went to Abby Newlon for her service as a school mentor and assistance to a local student with special needs.
"Abby is always on time, patient, committed, kind, responsible and creative," Councilman David DeCapua said. "She has also served as a program team leader with responsibilities including taking attendance, making sure each child has a mentor and guiding her team through the day's activities.
"She is highly respected and liked by the mentees and fellow teen mentors. Over time, Abby has become a true stakeholder in the program and (we) have grown to value her not only as an exemplary volunteer, but as a true partner in the program's success."