(Posted April 3, 2023)
Each year, the Madison County Chamber of Commerce presents its Bell Ringer Award to a person who truly cares about the community and strives to make it better. This year’s honoree is Marci Darlington of Mount Sterling.
A lifelong resident of Madison County, Darlington has worked and volunteered throughout the county for most of her life. She served as a Chamber board member once before and currently represents the village of Mount Sterling in her third year as mayor. Last year, she served as third vice president of the Chamber’s executive board.
Darlington enjoys organizing and participating in fundraising events. She helps to connect people in need with Madison County agencies and organizations that can help.
Darlington serves on the Mental Health Recovery Board for Clark, Greene, and Madison Counties. After she spoke at a board retreat about how she has been dealing with depression, many other groups have asked her to speak. She is open to share her story with others.
“I think it is so very important to share experiences, especially when we are trying to break through the stigma surrounding mental health and those who are afraid to ask for help,” Darlington said. “I feel this talk would be a strong message for staff working in mental health settings, but also for any group of employees as a way to make known what opportunities for help are available in our areas.”
Darlington has been involved in many different organizations in the county and has been a business owner in a couple of arenas. She was part of the Lions Club in West Jefferson and the West Jefferson Business Association. Through the business association, she helped with West Jefferson’s farmers market. She was a West Jefferson food pantry board member and volunteered at the Farm Science Review and the Chamber’s golf outing. She has volunteered at London’s Rhythm & Rib Fest and provided facepainting and balloon animals at the West Jefferson Ox Roast.
Darlington has been a vital part of Make A Difference Day activities for more than 15 years. Her involvement with the annual outreach began when she worked as an activities director at Arbors West. The staff and residents initially donated cash and non-perishable items to the local food pantry. The event also served as a fundraiser for the residents’ Christmas party. In subsequent years, participation included projects like cleaning up flowerbeds and planting flowers at the nursing home. In 2009, the local effort was named to the Top 10 in Ohio.
Darlington was instrumental in expanding Make A Difference Day participation county-wide. Volunteers raked leaves, picked up trash at parks, and the like. Darlington also gave non-profits a chance to promote their missions and fundraising.
In December 2021, Darlington spearheaded a collaboration among all of the mayors in Madison County to collect and send supplies to the residents of Mayfield, Ky., who suffered many losses following a devastating tornado.
Darlington and her husband, John, have five adult children and 12 grandchildren.
Presentation of the Bell Ringer Award took place during the Chamber’s annual meeting and recognition ceremony on March 30 at the London Country Club.