The Greater Newark Chamber of Commerce presented its citizen, business, organization and youth awards during a recent banquet at the American Legion in Newark.
Newark Chamber has presented its Citizen of the Year Award, now known as the Alex Eligh Service Award, since 1954. This year’s winner is Bob Hegeman for his willingness to help with almost any community project.
Hegeman most recently worked on the facilities team for the Laurel House Comfort Care Home in Newark. Pat Albrecht, a Laurel House board member, estimated that his work saved the organization more than $200,000 in labor and renovation costs, and significantly reduced the time required to complete the necessary renovations to the facility.
Hegeman also works with Habitat for Humanity of Wayne County, St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Newark and Boy Scouts.
The Chamber presented its Business of the Year Award to Legendary Auto Interiors, with owner Marty Beckenbaugh on-hand to accept the award.
Legendary was recognized for its investments in Newark and efforts to lend a hand where needed. The company, with more than 45,000 square feet of manufacturing space, produces automotive soft trim interior components. It hosts an auto and bike show each summer at its manufacturing facility, with all proceeds donated to a local charity.
Legendary moved to Newark in the early ‘90s, and has expanded multiple times. It continues to innovate and introduce new products, ensuring continued growth.
The Outstanding Youth Award went to Newark High School senior Kailyn Crawford, a four-year junior member of Newark EMS and a fourth-year biomedical sciences student.
Crawford has served more than 700 volunteer hours at Newark EMS over the last four years. She has served 200 hours on board the ambulances since 2017 to provide care to patients, and assist paramedics and emergency medical technicians.
Crawford plans to pursue her EMT certification after graduation, eventually becoming a paramedic cleared for Mercy Flight.
Mural Mania received the Ron Colacino Community Spirit Award, honoring the group as the Chamber’s organization of the year. Mark DeCracker and James Zegar accepted the award.
DeCracker and Zegar were part of the team responsible for the new mural on the canal path under the North Main Street bridge this past summer. This mural depicts Newark downtown of the past, along with the Rose Gardens.
“Newark is blessed with many outstanding individuals and organizations,” said Jessica Wells, president of the Newark Chamber. “The Chamber is honored to be able to recognize a small portion of them each year for their contributions to the community.”
Assemblyman-elect Brian Manktelow, R-130th District, was the featured speaker for the banquet. The Williamson native spoke of his memories visiting Newark as a child for shopping, recreation and other outings with his family. Mayor Jonathan Taylor provided updates on the South Main Street reconstruction, along with other projects within the village.
The Newark Chamber presents its awards each November to individuals and organizations nominated by community members. The awards are open to all; only the Business of the Year is required to be a Chamber member. Call (315) 331-2705 for information.