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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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Businesses, 1st responders honored at Prism Ceremony

There was a new consideration to be taken in by judges when determining who to honor at the annual Eastern Maumee Chamber of Commerce Prism Award ceremony at Sunrise Park and Banquet Center in Millbury.

An EF4 tornado had torn its way across the community on June 5, 2010, killing at least seven, destroying business and homes, and leaving a path of devastation from Moline, through Millbury, and into Ottawa County.

The Prism judges awarded plaques to Main Street Church, Lake Township Fire Chief Todd Walters, Police Chief Mark Hummer, the Northwood VFW Ladies Auxiliary, and Adams Screen Printing for efforts involved in first response, coming to the aid of responders and victims, and for fundraising efforts.

One business, Luckies Barn and Grill in Oregon, received a Horizon Award for fundraising efforts. It was not the only restaurant fundraising, but a party raised $4,000 and spawned a city-wide effort called “restaurants for relief” which raised another $17,000.

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Prism winners: Marcia Amstutz, G.A.F. Society: Grahame Burrow, Norplas Industries: Melissa and Geoff Kies, LuckiesBarn & Grill; Matt Stapleton for Tim Stapleton, Person of the Year; Reed Steele, Challenger Learning Center of Lucas County; Sister Cecelia Mary, Little Sisters of the Poor; Dennis Pavley, Eggleston Meinert Pavley
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Left; Chief Mark Hummer represented the Lake Township Police who were recognized as first responders to the tornado last June. Right; Reed Steele and Sister Cecelia Mary congratulate each other.  (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)

Luckies is a family bar and grill with a staff that has more than 400 years experience serving the eating public. The Horizon Award is presented to a business in operation for five years or less which has shown growth.

Owners Geoff and Melissa Kies today employ 40 workers at the restaurant on 3310 Navarre. The Prism booklet stated that “(the owners) take that commitment to serving families to the community that supports them.”

When the June 5 tornado hit, Luckies began a two-week campaign to deliver food to local fire stations to feed first responders and volunteers. Since the campaign, Luckies has donated time and food for a number of fundraising events, and the restaurant also donates dinner to Clay High sports teams.

Eggleston-Meinert-Pavley Funeral Homes received the 100 years in service award. Dennis Pavley, who accepted the award, said the business is in its fifth generation of family ownership.

The Challenger Learning Center of Lucas County received the General Excellence Award. The center, which employs three at its Seaman Road location, collaborates with regional NASA facilities to engage students in math and science education through simulated space missions.

These missions teach students teamwork, problem-solving skills, responsible decision-making and communication, said the Prism program.

The Challenger Center is just one of a network of 48 such centers across the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and South Korea. They are funded through a foundation created in honor of the Challenger crew lost in the ill-fated space mission of 1986.

“This wide-ranging network works together to make learning fun for tomorrow’s scientists, engineers, researchers, and students,” the Prism ceremony guide continues. “The space simulation uses a student’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm for space travel to provide an innovative learning experience.”

The Challenger Center also provides students with summer camps, rocketry classes, telescope viewings, astronomy programs, and a Micronaut program for students in grades K-4. Director Dean Steele was on hand to accept the award.

Oregon’s Sacred Heart Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor on Wynn Road was the recipient of the Pioneer Award. The Little Sisters of the Poor manage 30 nursing homes and another 169 worldwide.

One year ago, Sacred Heart received a somewhat negative survey by the State of Ohio and federal inspectors. These results were analyzed by a cross-discipline management team and a corrective action plan adopted and implemented, returning the home “to the excellence it was known for,” stated the program guide.

In fact, in the latest annual State of Ohio Nursing Home Family Satisfaction Survey, the Sacred Heart home scored a 97 percent, which placed the home in the top 12 scores in the state.

The Little Sisters have a singular mission — “to take care of the elderly poor. They do it in an efficient, cost effective way,” said the Prism guide.

Half of their revenue is covered by Medicare of Medicaid while the other half comes directly from private donations from members of the community. The Sacred Heart home employs 84.

The German-American-Festival Society, based in Oregon and representing seven German-American societies, received the Community Improvement Award.

The G-A-F are known for staging the largest ethnic festival in the Toledo area, one that draws more than 25,000 people a year to their beautiful oak shaded grove provides Oregon with a $1.5 million economic impact.

The G-A-F uses festival profits to give back to the community in a number of ways. It is the largest sponsor of high school language programs in the area and provides numerous scholarships and donations to various charities. Funds also support many cultural events and the Swiss Baysiders athletic teams.

“Since its first festival at Raceway Park in 1966, organizers have dedicated themselves to providing a fun and safe event,” the program guide states. “They solicit feedback from festival goers both on their Facebook and websites making such customer friendly changes as accepting credit cards and reducing their garbage stream by employing plastic souvenir beer boots. The beer boots eliminate 50,000 beer chips.”

Norplas Industries received the Best Practice Award. Norplas is a Tier One manufacturer supplying the auto industry with painted plastic parts such as bumper fascia systems and rocker panels.

“Norplas has fostered a continuous improvement culture in its plants,” states the program guide. “Its best-in-class quality record has resulted in new contracts. This year, the company will expand to support customer demand for its products.”

Employment in mid-2010 was 485, today is 592, and following the expansion it is expected to increase to 800.

The expansion is not the company’s first since it is located in Northwood in 1998. Demand for its products also spurred expansions in 1999 and 2004.

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