The Upper Arlington Historical Society, OhioHealth and three residents recently were honored for service to the community by the city of Upper Arlington.

Each year since 1998, the city manager, mayor and previous winners of the annual Community Awards collect nominations for individuals, businesses and organizations to be recognized and celebrated for contributions to the community.

New Community Award winners are announced at the Upper Arlington State of the City address, which this year was held Jan. 22.

* Community Enrichment Award: the Upper Arlington Historical Society History Book Committee, comprised of Sara Klein (chairwoman), Cindy Holodnak, Melanie Circle Brown, Ed Seidel, Kristin Greenberg, Erik Yassenoff and Charlie Groezinger.

"In preparation for Upper Arlington's centennial year, this volunteer team from the UA Historical Society decided now was the right time for an update to the history book on Upper Arlington," City Councilwoman Carolyn Casper said. "They went much further than picking up where the version from the late 1980s left off -- they decided to return to Upper Arlington's beginnings and to capture the milestones and stories of the community's evolution anew.

"Following many months of research, fact-checking and organizing, they enlisted the help of a local writer to put one voice on the stories that can be found within '100: A Cherished Past, A Golden Future.' The result is a delightful read that celebrates our community's first century and is sure to become the go-to resource on all things Upper Arlington."

* Senior Award: Denny Mardas

"Denny is a calm, gentle unassuming man with a huge heart for young people," Councilman Brian Close said.

"As a longtime member of the Upper Arlington Optimist Club and someone with a passion for understanding the challenges facing young people in the area of substance abuse, Denny introduced The Stand Project to his fellow Optimist members, with a 'Friend of Law' award and funding support one of the positive results. He regularly volunteers for The Stand Project, participating with the Youth Engagement Team, helping to launch a student led group and to fund its first signature event, 'Movie at the Marv.'

"His generosity of time, advocacy and philanthropy is much appreciated, but he would never expect any recognition for his contributions. He would just say 'it is the right thing to do.' "

* Youth Award: Max Gillum

"This March, Max will put on his fourth annual dodgeball tournament for charity," Councilwoman Michele Hoyle said. "Max started as a fifth-grader at Windermere (and) he is now an eighth-grader at Hastings.

"The first year, the tourney was held at Jones and raised over $2,800 for the Faith Mission charity. Since then, the tournament has been held at the high school to accommodate the crowds.

"Last year, Max raised over $8,000, which he presented to the Refuge. a Columbus-based homeless charity for men struggling with illness or addiction. Max begins planning in early January with emails, calls, sign-ups and groundwork, spending his evenings -- after school and wrestling practice -- putting it all together for the annual March event."

* Business Award: OhioHealth

"OhioHealth has worked hard to generate awareness surrounding the health crisis of addiction and substance abuse," Councilman Jim Lynch said. "From physicians and nurses advocating in our community to providing funding and meeting space, OhioHealth has been an outstanding partner for The Stand Project.

"This kind of generosity is contributing to cultural change. Dr. John Leff acts as an extension of OhioHeath as a subject-matter expert, attacking the issue of substance abuse with passion, knowledge and firsthand patient experience. As a board member, John makes participating in The Stand Project a priority.

"Under the leadership of Brian Jepson, OhioHealth awarded The Stand Project a $15,000 grant to help grow the initiative and agreed to in-kind printing services for community resource guides distributed to every student in UA."

* Community Safety Award: Hollie Goldberg

"Hollie deserves recognition for her many years of dedicated service and advocacy on behalf of the older adult population living in UA," Councilwoman Sue Ralph said. "She has been a tireless advocate for the fragile elderly and their caregivers.

"Hollie is a consummate and caring professional who would do anything to improve the lives of UA's aging community members. After 40-plus years working in the field of aging supportive services -- many of those years spent with Northwest Counseling Services and Syntero -- Hollie has announced she will retire in March.

"We are grateful for all that she has contributed to bettering the lives of others."

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