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Streetsboro -- The 2013 Citizen of the Year award was awarded Jan. 8 at The Fairways at Twin Lakes to Kathleen Schuman, who has been overseeing the Streetsboro Community Pantry for the past 18 months.
"I was stunned," she said. "Honestly, when I first got the call from [Streetsboro Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director] Valerie [Fiala], I thought someone was pranking me."
Fiala said she's happy to see a leader with a non-profit win the award this year.
"It was nice to see one of them nominated and be one of the recipients last night," she said. "Those people work so hard and usually don't get credit or pay for their work."
Officially the vice president of the Streetsboro Community Pantry, Schuman said she's currently serving as the acting director of the Streetsboro Community Pantry because the director, Ellen Poole, is on medical leave.
Schuman was nominated for the award by Kim Christensen, who has also volunteered for the Streetsboro Community Pantry which is housed at Streetsboro United Methodist Church and is also affiliated St. Joan of Arc Parish and The Chapel at Tinkers Creek, both of Streetsboro.
Schuman is a jack-of-all-trades for the pantry, according to Christensen.
"She purchases groceries, orders food and arranges volunteers to pick up the orders at the Akron Food Bank, stocks shelves, trains volunteers, oversees administrative duties and takes on the many other responsibilities to operate this agency," said Christensen.
Although Christensen said Schuman would be quick to credit the organization's success to a team effort, "there are many people relying on her energy, focus and inspiration to be able to provide free groceries to the numerous families of Streetsboro who rely on this service."
Schuman said she's filling in for Poole, who's gradually taking on duties as she comes off medical leave.
"Her focus is just incredible," said Schuman of Poole. "She'll do it. She'll get back."
Other award winners
The Chamber also presented the Outstanding Recognition Award, the Image Award, the Business of the Year Award, the Chamber Member of the Year Award, recognized the winner of the Northeast Ohio Area Chamber of Commerce's Bright Star Award and presented the President's Recognition at the event:
Outstanding Recognition Award, granted to an individual business or organization that has gone above and beyond with their efforts and contributions to the Streetsboro Area Chamber of Commerce for the Streetsboro community at large. Step2 Co., the award winner, was a major sponsor of the Chamber's first annual Employment Expo, the Chamber's golf outing, provided a speaker for a Women in Business breakfast and provided donations to raffles and auctions throughout the year.
The Image Award, given to a business or organization a business or individual in the greater Streetsboro area that has acted in a way to support economic retention, reinvestment and development of new facilities, was presented to Streetsboro Veterinary Center. Streetsboro Veterinary Center took an empty house along Route 43, tore it down to 1 standing wall and creating a new veterinary office.
The Business of the Year Award, given each year to a Chamber member who has demonstrated exemplary involvement and investment in the community, went to Excalibur Collision. The business has supported the community through its "See for Free" program, which offers new windshield wipers, washer fluid and light bulb replacement as a free service to promote increasing driving viability which reduces the chance of auto accidents and injuries. The body shop has also supported other community organizations, including Recycled Rides, HomeInstead Care's "Be a Santa to a Senior" program, Warm Heart, Warm Hands, the Coleman Foundation, the PCIA Reverse Raffle for Kent State University scholarships, Soap Box Derby and the 2012 Toy and Clothing drive for City of Hope and Liberty House.
Chamber Member of the Year, granted each year to "an individual whose individual whose community service has resulted in the advancement of the common good, promotion of the public welfare and the stimulation of public service." The winner, the city of Streetsboro, has been a key sponsor of Employment Expo, golf outing and Autumn on the Lake. They were also a keynote speaker at two luncheons in 2013.
The Bright Star Award, presented first in October at the NOACC's annual meeting in Cleveland, went to retired Streetsboro Police Chief Richard A. Taiclet. The award "recognizes a chamber member who has made significant impact on the chamber through membership, retention, sponsorship, economic development, operations and or education."
"This year's recipient can be found helping out at each event, picking you auction items, soliciting sponsors, and participating in each of the numerous Chamber events," said Fiala. "He can been seen placing signs in the town square in the middle of wind, rain and frozen ground."
President's Recognition, "recognizes the contributions in promoting growth, development, and dedication to the business community." The winner, Brad Raum of Robinson Memorial Hospital, served as the Chamber's president through 2013.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens