Chamber honors 2 civic leaders

PHOTO BY JIMMY FLINT Lenny Clouse, president of Clouse Construction, gives an acceptance speech after he was given the Outstanding Citizenship Award Thursday night.

Area leaders were given awards for their efforts to improve the community during the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services’ 103rd annual meeting Thursday night.

Brad and Kim Newman, owners of Tiffin Aire, who won the Outstanding Citizenship Award in 2016, presented the award to Clouse Construction President Lenny Clouse.

Kim Newman said the construction company was founded in 1975 and is the 24th largest steel-building contractor in the U.S.

She said some of the testimonies on the company’s website epitomize Clouse the person.

“Outstanding. First class. Professional. Hard-working,” she said.

Kim Newman thanked Clouse for his contributions to the community and said he never fails to give his time, materials and money.

“Lucky for us, he’s always been dedicated to Seneca County,” she said.

Kim Newman said Clouse is involved with Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Centers, Seneca County Home Builders, Tiffin University Founders Club, Mercy Health – Tiffin Hospital, Seneca County Fair and Good Shepherd Home.

Brad Newman said Clouse always has a smile on his face.

“He is generous with his time,” he said. “He’s always willing to give back.”

Clouse said he was humbled and thankful to receive the award.

He introduced his family and coworkers who were in attendance.

“Thank you all for being such good friends and good employees,” Clouse said. “Our goal is to try to do it right and try to do the best we can.”

Tiffin University President Lillian Schumacher, who won the Women’s Career Excellence Award in 2016, presented that award to Advertiser-Tribune Online Editor Jill Gosche.

“You’d be very hard pressed to find a more committed individual,” Schumacher said.

Schumacher said individuals have said Gosche “goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

She also said Gosche makes others better.

Schumacher said Gosche is involved in many groups, including Relay for Life, Power of the Pen, Seneca County 4-H, Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial, Big Brothers and Big Sisters mentoring program and Tiffin-Seneca United Way.

Gosche also is an adjunct professor at Tiffin University and is the author of “The Beam Could Talk,” a book that documents the history of Tiffin Police and Fire All Patriots Memorial and shares how Tiffin citizens were impacted by the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. It also memorializes two Tiffin police officers who were killed in the line of duty.

A-T Publisher Chris Dixon said Gosche is “a valuable asset to our newspaper” and he said it’s people such as her who make Tiffin a great place to live.

Gosche said it had been a bad day in the community, after a fatal house fire on SR 18 that reportedly claimed the lives of five people, but she said she was thankful for the award.

“I firmly believe you win with people,” Gosche said, before thanking the important people in her life, including her parents, Donna and Ron Gosche.

Both winners were read a statement from Gov. John Kasich’s office and were given a letter of appreciation from state Rep. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin.

Reineke, who was the keynote speaker, said he was honored to attend the event and commended Clouse and Gosche.

“Both Jill and Lenny are wonderful assets to our community,” he said.

Reineke endorsed the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties 0.7-mill levy and also discussed the state budget that passed earlier this year.

“(The levy) is really, very important to our community,” he said.

Reineke also gave credit to Seneca County Common Pleas Court judges Steve Shuff and Michael Kelbley and Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court Judge Mark Repp for being leaders on advocating for a drug court. He said the drug court is to become a state model.

Reineke said it’s important to develop the workforce locally and said the community needs to remove the stigma that manufacturing and technology jobs are bad careers for students.

Also during the meeting, chamber president and CEO Jon Detwiler updated attendees on the organization’s accomplishments.

“Tourism is an integral and driving component of the Seneca County economy,” he said.

Detwiler cited a study that reported in 2015, the last full year data is available, visitors to the county generated about $84 million in sales, $11 million in taxes and $27 million in wages, sustaining 1,670 jobs, or about one in every 14 job in the county.

He said the chamber is in the tourism business for its sixth year under the Destination: Seneca County brand.

“Our quarter-over-quarter results, as measured by lodging tax revenues, continue to exceed expectations,” Detwiler said. “On any given night, it is difficult to find available lodging in Seneca County.