Volunteers honored at annual Beverly dinner

BEVERLY – There were many laughs shared and a few tears shed as the Beverly-Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce honored a group of community volunteers and a business at its annual dinner Thursday night.

This year’s Business of the Year award went to Muskingum True Value Hardware – a place that treats customers like family, and where owners Bob and Donna Brooker can be found chatting up customers, said Sam Skinner, one of the chamber’s directors.

“It’s not uncommon to find them playing peek-a-boo, holding a child, asking how a wedding went,” said Skinner.

But the shock of winning the award left the Brookers uncharacteristically speechless.

“Speaking at the store is a different story than trying to stand up here and say something, but we do appreciate it,” Bob said and they accepted the award.

The Brookers purchased the store in 1986 – the same year the B-W Area Chamber of Commerce was formed – and have not looked back.

“The opportunity came up and we jumped on it and we haven’t looked back,” said Bob.

This year’s Outstanding Citizen Award was bestowed upon a group of outstanding citizens. The American Legion Riders of Russell Chadwick American Legion Post 389 was chartered in 2006 and has been active in raising funds for American Legion causes and the community.

“We like to do projects to support our causes,” said Legion Rider Bobby Pennock.

Among other things, the Legion Riders supports causes such as the Wounded Warrior Project, American Legion Legacy Fund, scholarships at local schools, and local police and fire organizations, he said.

“Since the start of 2013, we’ve spent $18,000 funding some of these things,” said Pennock.

Legion Rider Kevin Sams added that the award was quite an honor.

Getting involved in community efforts through the group is a positive experience, he said.

“To give money away is just a great feeling,” he said.

Attendees heard from guest speaker Mike Lloyd of the Ohio State University Extension Office, who talked about the impact the growing oil and gas drilling could have on area businesses.

“Many of the things these people need can be supplied by local business. It can be a little bit of a challenge sometimes to get your foot through that door,” said Lloyd.

Lloyd typically works in Noble County and has seen that impact there, from the disappearance of vacant store fronts to the increased demand for local food, housing, and more.

Also presented at the dinner were the group’s annual scholarships. Alex Medina of Fort Frye High School and Lindsey Arnold of Waterford High School each received $500 scholarships.