Local Businesses, Individuals Honored at SWACC Luncheon

From left, Pat McCauley, Jamie Mescher, Taylor Paul and Sara Topp at the Southwest Auglaize Country Chamber of Commerce Awards on Tuesday at Faith Alliance Church. Paul won the Special Achievement Award for her service in New Bremen.
Staff Writer

Local business leaders and community members were honored Tuesday afternoon for their hard work and dedication to the community.

Three awards were given out Tuesday during the Southwest Auglaize County Chamber of Commerce (SWACC) Annual Meeting Awards Lunch held at Faith Alliance Church.

“This year has been another great year and we’re looking forward to this upcoming year,” said Jamie Mescher, president of the SWACC Board of Directors, during his introduction speech. 

Melissa Smalley, executive director at Otterbein in St. Marys, was the featured speaker and she spoke before the awards ceremony.

Smalley gave the chamber members a lesson in what an effective mission statement can do for a company or organization. 

“I encourage you to get out of those weeds a little bit, take some time to look at your organization as a whole and focus on this, because this is what the essence of your being and your organization is all about,” said Smalley in her concluding remarks.

This year’s awards were donated by Jason Barhorst, who is the owner of Creations by Design, based in Minster.

Sara Topp, executive director of SWACC, said it was important to her to have an area company produce the awards and she hopes to have a new business every year.

“We have a lot of chamber members that do unique things in our area,” said Topp. “It’s just something different so we can showcase what they actually have the capability of doing.”

Topp said that she did her best to keep the awards secret leading up to the ceremony.

The first award given out was the Community Business Pride award and was received by H.A. Dorsten, a construction company based in Minster.

“This organization or business has made changes to its operation by expansion, renovation or significant growth and has made a significant, positive impact on the community which it operates,” said Topp during the presentation. 

The president of H.A. Dorsten, Sean Dorsten, accepted the award.

The next award announced was the Outstanding Businessperson of the Year and was won by Wally Wagner.

Wagner is the owner of Wagner’s IGA which has three locations in Minster, New Bremen and Fort Loramie.

He was inducted into the Ohio Grocers Hall of Fame in 2019.

The final award of the afternoon was given to Taylor Paul.

Paul, a senior at New Bremen High School, won the Special Achievement Award for her work at St. Paul United Church of Christ in New Bremen. 

Paul installed the Golden Harvest Community Orchard and expanded the blessing pantry at the church.