Greenville Chamber honors local people and businesses

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:06 am on Friday, February 01, 2013

Kathy Jo VanderLaan was named the Marian Kemp Outstanding Citizen 2012 by the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

BELDING — Thursday evening was filled with fun, prizes and awards during the annual Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce meeting at Candlestone Golf and Resort.

The theme for the night was James Bond/Casino Night where local business owners and community members got to have fun while socializing with the evening’s award winners.

Chamber Board Chairman Terry Acker of Acker Title Agency talked to the crowd of over 200 people to highlight the year Greenville had in 2012, before members were honored.

“Good things are going on in Greenville — things to be optimistic about,” Acker said.


Greenville Public Schools Superintendent Pete Haines was awarded the Coalition of Greater Greenville (COGG) Spirit of Collaboration Award 2012.

Kim Singh, who was the 2011 recipient, said she was truly honored to present the award to Haines because of the difference he has been able to make to the community through his collaboration efforts.

Haines’ nomination letter submitted by Assistant Superintendent Diane Brissette highlighted some of his efforts such as collaborative bargaining at the school, and being very visible in the community.

“This means a lot — thank you,” Haines said of his award.

Haines noted he did not accomplish his efforts alone, and said he couldn’t have done it without the collaborative efforts of those in the community.

Blake Hollenbeck of Blake Hollenbeck Auto Sales was honored by the chamber for Small Business Person of the Year.

The 2011 recipient Mike Kohley said this is the 15th year Blake Hollenbeck Auto Sales has been in business, and in those years, the business has expanded along with the number of employees.

“He has a big heart and cares about those in need,” Kohley said, noting he helped many people succeed when times were rough.

Hollenbeck, Kohley said, cares about the community, is generous and a family man.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Hollenbeck said. “I wan to thank my family, friends and the community.”

The 2011 Marian Kemp Outstanding Citizen Award recipient Bill Braman introduced Kathy Jo VanderLaan as the 2012 recipient.

“She works to find the real purpose in her work,” Braman said of VanderLaan. “She has many gifts and shares them all.”

Through the years, Braman said VanderLaan has spent much of her time working, going to church or volunteering — especially through the school district.

“The list goes on and on,” Braman said of all the things VanderLaan does for the community. “Greenville is a better place because of Kathy Jo VanderLaan.”

After receiving the award, VanderLaan thanked the crowd and said there is nothing like living in a community she loves.

“Greenville tugged at our hearts,” she said of when her family was looking for a new place to call home. “I can’t think of a better place to live or work.”


Chamber business awards


Bricks and Mortar Recipients

• Tim Horton’s and Cold Stone Creamery

• Spectrum Health United Hospital – emergency department

• Greenville Public Schools

• 57 Bistro and Brew Pub

• Greenville Family Dental


Refurbishing Awards

• L.A. Enterprises

• Jim Mullendore

• Tinney Automotive

• Greenville Burger King

• Cutting Edge

• Drake’s Place

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