Chamber honors businesses and individuals

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
Ashley Wheeler (right), community relations director for the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, presents the Above & Beyond award to Pamela Wurster.

(Posted April 4, 2023)

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting is not only a time to reflect on the previous year in business and new things to come, but also to recognize the achievements and service of outstanding businesses and individuals.

The following honorees received awards at this year’s meeting which took place on March 30 at the London Country Club. The presentations included several newly created recognitions: the Above & Beyond Award, Chamber Member of the Year Award, Volunteer of the Year Award, and Commercial/Service Award.

Above & Beyond Award: Pamela Wurster
The Chamber created the Above & Beyond Award to recognize a Madison County resident who has helped to further Chamber programs and services. Pamela Wurster of London is the first recipient of this new award.

Last summer, Wurster stopped by the Chamber to introduce herself and rave about Stanley Park which is located on the Chamber grounds on Keny Boulevard in London. She said the park’s walking trail is the best kept secret in Madison County.

Wurster asked if she could do some research to see if grant funding is available to pave the walking trail to make it handicap accessible. In the process, she learned that grant funding is available to purchase handicap accessible picnic tables and to refurbish the existing tables in the shelter house.

With support from the London Community Foundation, Wurster has submitted applications for both grants. If the grants are improved, individuals with mobility issues will be better able to enjoy the park and its amenities.

Wurster also has volunteered many hours to helping the Chamber at the Farm Science Review, Bonanza, the annual meeting, and the annual golf outing.

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
Ashley Wheeler (left), community relations director for the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, presents the Chamber Member of the Year award to Amy Rees.

Chamber Member of the Year Award: Amy Rees
The Chamber created the Chamber Member of the Year Award to honor individuals who raise the bar for what it means to be a Chamber member. Amy Rees of London is the first recipient of this new award.

Rees has spent countless hours helping with preparations for the Chamber’s Bonanza, and is the first person to offer a hand one every project the Chamber pursues.

She offered her talents and knowledge to new Chamber staff members hired in 2022–Jon McKanna, executive director, and Ashley Wheeler, community relations director.

Rees used her graphic design skills to created framed listings for silent auction item’s at last year’s Bonanza. She also organized the ducks for the 2023 Duck Raffle. She developed and created the Chamber’s event calendar insert for this year’s annual meeting. She is serving her second term as the Chamber’s first vice president and chairs the new community outreach committee.

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
Ashley Wheeler (right), community relations director for the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, presents the Volunteer of the Year award to Rita Fitch.

Volunteer of the Year Award: Rita Fitch
Rita Fitch was born in Columbus and attended St. Francis of Assisi Grade School and Bishop Watterson High School. She graduated in 1963, went to work for Grange Mutual Insurance, and attended Franklin University where she earned a degree in accounting. She also enrolled at Ohio State University (OSU) and began working on coursework to become a certified public accountant.

During her studies at OSU, Fitch went to work for Haydocy Automotive as a part-time accounting clerk and never left. The company was sold to Mark Wahlberg Automotive in 2020. She continues to work part-time.

A resident of West Jefferson, Fitch is a past member of the Madison County Women’s Republican Club and State Central Committee. She has volunteered at numerous fundraisers, including golf outings and Octoberfest, and is still active in helping the London Kiwanis Club during the Farm Science Review.

Fitch attends Sts. Simon and Judge Catholic Church in West Jefferson where she is treasurer of the women’s group and active in various ministries.

“I do believe my association with the Madison County Chamber of Commerce has been the most satisfying, other than church,” she said.

Initially, the Chamber approached Fitch to help with Bonanza, the Chamber’s large fundraiser. Fitch also helps with the organization’s golf outing.

“It’s been a pleasure, and I hope I can remain healthy and stay busy volunteering at the Chamber because it has been very rewarding,” she said.

Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
Ashley Wheeler (right), community relations director for the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, presents the Volunteer of the Year award to Charlene Saul.

Volunteer of the Year Award: Charlene Saul
West Jefferson resident Charlene Saul grew up in Perry County and graduated from St. Aloysius Academy High School in New Lexington, Ohio. She came to Columbus for a job and to further her education.

Saul went to work for the State of Ohio Defense Construction Supply Center where she met her husband, Cliff, and had a son. The couple has five great-grandchildren.

Saul’s career path took her to Deere & Co. in Columbus. She retired from John Deere in 1999. After retirement, she volunteered for Loving Care Hospice in London for 20 years.
Saul attends Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church in West Jefferson where she serves as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and alter server. She also helps with the church’s women’s group projects.

Other volunteer roles for Saul have included membership in the Madison County Republican Women’s Club and Madison County Republican Committee. Associated activities have included Octoberfest and the Lincoln Day Dinner.

For many years, Saul helped the London Kiwanis Club staff a food tent at Farm Science Review. She has prepared book bags for London City Schools and, for years, has volunteered at the Chamber’s Bonanza and golf outing.

“I am blessed and grateful for all the opportunities and to still be able to help where needed,” Saul said.

Industrial Award: Jefferson Industries
Since breaking ground in West Jefferson in 1988, Jefferson Industries has succeeded in becoming a world leader in auto parts manufacturing. The foundation of that success is great people, efficient processes, and high quality service.

Over the years, the company has experienced growth and, at the same time, furthered its community involvement, providing incentives for employees to get involved in individual and group philanthropic endeavors.

For example, Dallas Love, administration senior manager, connected with Manufacturing Extension Partnership at Columbus State University to expose Madison County high school students to careers in manufacturing. Love coordinated a detailed tour of Jefferson Industries and a deep-dive panel discussion between Jefferson Industries employees and students. By highlighting career paths in manufacturing, the company is working to keep Madison County talent local.

Commercial/Service Award: Jay-Car Construction Co. Inc.
Jay-Car Construction in Mount Sterling was founded in 1967 by Carlos Joslin and Jay Joslin, a father-son team. Among their first projects was construction of the Kroger grocery warehouse in Columbus. The upstart business has grown into a multimillion-dollar general contracting and construction management firm serving a large portion of Ohio and, on occasion, interstate customers.

The fourth generation of the Joslin family is now part of the business. The leadership team includes David Joslin, president, and his son, Nick Joslin, vice president, along with Mike Gordon, treasurer.

Over the past two decades, Jay-Car has donated time and services to the Chamber of Commerce, hooking up electric to power the Chamber’s food vendors at the Farm Science Review. This year, the company removed four large power poles from the Review site, then hauled them to the Chamber grounds on Keny Boulevard in London where they were used to improve the trailhead to the walking trail at Stanley Park.

Retail/Service Award: Boyd Garage Doors & Openers LLC
For nearly 31 years, Boyd Garage Doors & Openers in London has strived to provide personalized services at affordable prices in Madison and surrounding counties.

Led by Jeff Boyd, the company’s team has been a vital part of helping families and businesses in Madison County. They have provided services to the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Madison County Senior Services population.

Non-Profit Award: Junior Achievement of Mad River Region
Junior Achievement provides lessons in financial literacy, work and career readiness, and entrepreneurship to students in grades K-12. Volunteers from the local community help to teach those lessons and serve as role models, emphasizing the importance of education and critical life skills.

Junior Achievement of Mad River Region is providing 44 programs this school year, 20 more than were completed in 2021-22. Programs are taking place at London City Schools, Jefferson Local Schools, St. Patrick School, and Tolles Career and Technical Center.

Mad River Region’s leadership staff includes Crystal Steiner, president, and Robin Louden-Henry, program manager.

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