Annual Celebration Dinner recognizes Wabash County’s best

Wabash County, IN __Wabash County came together at the Honeywell Center on Thursday, Oct. 8, for Grow Wabash County’s Annual Celebration Dinner.

After a lively social hour and a socially-distanced dinner hour, the guests were ushered into the Ford Theater for the evenings awards. Parker Beauchamp, CEO of INGUARD, served as the master of ceremonies and reflected upon the changes that this year had brought and how special it was for the community to be able to spend some time together and honor some of Wabash County’s greatest champions.

Board Chair Patty Grant reflected on the year and the challenges faced by Wabash County and the work that had been going on at Grow Wabash County to mitigate the impact of those challenges. She also highlighted the progress being made by Imagine One85 to develop a countywide strategic plan and further address declining population in the county.

After the necessary business of the Grow Wabash County Board of Directors was completed by Grant, Keith Gillenwater, President and CEO of Grow Wabash County, delivered his remarks on the past year and the achievements of the Grow Wabash County team.

“I never want to miss the opportunity to say that I am proud to call Wabash County my home, Gillenwater said. “I am blessed to have a wonderful team, a visionary board, and a supportive community.  Grow Wabash County is firing on all cylinders, but we cannot be successful without all (our investors’) support and involvement.”

Halderman Real Estate and Farm Management were the guests of honor as the 2020 Business of the Year. The company has operated out of Wabash County for over 90 years and has continued the legacy of service and love for the Wabash community established decades ago.

Howard Halderman, the business’ current president, accepted the award on behalf of the company. During his remarks, Halderman touted the long-time presence the company and the Halderman family and the importance the company has on being not only a successful business, but a family-minded one. A video featuring Halderman’s company and many of its employees also played during the presentation.

As is tradition, there were also a few pleasant surprises scattered throughout the night. The first was the announcement of the 2020 Volunteer of the Year. This award is annually presented to a member of the Wabash County community who has devoted their time to serving their community and helping it grow.

The 2020 Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Jim Smith. A longtime educator, Smith has served on the North Manchester Town Council and recently retired as the lead facilitator of the Leadership Development Wabash County program.

The event’s best-kept secret, though, was the name of the 2020 Distinguished Citizen. Bill Barrows, the 2019 award recipient, delivered a heartfelt speech about this year’s Distinguished Citizen, revealing at the end that Doug Adams, was, in fact, the 2020 Distinguished Citizen. Adams responded with thanks and his own recognition of the people in the community who, like him, have devoted much of their time to volunteering in Wabash County. To sweeten the surprise, an unaware Adams was then joined onstage by his loved ones for pictures.

Grow Wabash County would like to thank all of the sponsors that showed their support for this year’s event.

Platinum Sponsors: City of Wabash, Huntington University

Gold Sponsor: MPS Egg Farms

Social Hour Sponsors: The Honeywell Foundation, Main View Inn

Silver Sponsors: Bippus State Bank, The Bowen Center, Crossroads Bank, First Merchants Bank, Ford Meter Box Company, Inc., G6 Communications, Instrasect Technologies, NIPSCO, Northwestern Mutual, The Paper of Wabash County, Paperworks Industries, Inc., Town of North Manchester, Visit Wabash County, White’s Residential & Family Services

Bronze Sponsors: State Senator Andy Zay, Beacon Credit Union, Benson & Son, LLC, Community Foundation of Wabash County, The Hagerman Group, Hoosier Jiffy Print, Jones Contracting, Inc., Kirtlan Automotive Machine & Repair, Lundquist Appraisals & Real Estate, Michael Barnett, OJI Intertech, Inc., Owens Corning – Thermafiber, Wabash Carnegie Public Library, Wabash Hardware & Rental