MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce announced its annual honors for the 2013 year at a dinner event Thursday evening.
As it does each year, the chamber selected winners of its Marian Kemp Outstanding Citizen, Small Business Person of the Year, Coalition of Greater Greenville Spirit of Collaboration, Refurbishing, and Brick and Mortar awards.
Marian Kemp Outstanding Citizen Award
One of the main awards for the year, the Marian Kemp Outstanding Citizen Award is given to a person who displays outstanding dedication to the Greenville area community.
Vi VanTil, office manager and surgical counselor at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology-Greenville, was selected as the 2013 recipient.
“Vi gives 110 percent to every organization in which she is involved, from leading projects, organizing functions and committing above and beyond,” wrote VanTil’s nominators, Rachel Hollenbeck and Colleen Mulder of the opthalmology clinic. “She is never a member in name only.”
VanTil is involved with the Women’s Action Network, Greenville Business Network, Greenville’s Danish Festival and Thalia Club.
“Vi’s commitment to her community is strong because of the person she is and the love she has for the Greenville community,” her nominators wrote.
VanTil was unaware of the award until her name was read by 2012 recipient Kathy Jo VanderLaan.
“I truly appreciate this very much and I know there are a lot of people out there who are very deserving of this,” she said. “I’m very proud and honored to have been chosen for this award tonight.”
Small Business Person of the Year
Two business partners were selected as the 2013 recipients of the Small Business Person of the Year award.
Dr. Peter Blinkilde and Dr. Steve Edwards of the Town & Country Animal Clinic were given the award.
“Pete has been a mentor to many students who have gone on to veterinary school,” said Edwards, who nominated his partner Blinkilde for the award. The awards committee in turn decided to award the honor to both men.
“The awards committee also learned that Steve is no slacker when it comes to community support,” said Blake Hollenbeck of Blake Hollenbeck Auto Sales, who presented the award as the previous year’s recipient.
The two men have taken part in many community events structured around animal health, including wildlife rehabilitation, presentations at schools and their work with the clinic.
Both men said they were honored to receive the award, Blinkilde added what Edwards said of him in his nomination letter can also be said of Edwards.
Coalition of Greater Greenville Spirit of Collaboration Award
The 2013 award winner for collaboration was Rob Spohr, vice president for student and academic affairs for Montcalm Community College.
“Over the last several years I have been impressed by Rob’s commitment to improving the quality of life in each of our communities through a total environmental perspective,” said Greenville Superintendent Pete Haines, last year’s recipient and nominator for Spohr.
“Certainly, his passion for continuing education, degree and credential attainment speaks for itself, but those are the drivers he brings to his daily profession. It is the things he does beyond that which make him even more remarkable.”
Spohr was unable to attend the dinner and his award was accepted by MCC President Robert Ferrentino, who said Spohr was very deserving of the award.