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Leaders Thanked at Chamber Dinner
Posted on: 03/12/2013
By  Mike Cullums
 
The Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce 98th Annual Dinner was well attended as always, despite last evening’s rainfall.
 
A big part of the Chamber Dinner each year is the awarding of recognition to community members in various fields. Here's a synopsis of each of this year's awardees.

The 2013 Washington County Council of Cooperatives Agricultural Person of the Year is Ralph Coffman, who grew up on a farm and has lived, managed and taught farming ever since. Coffman’s impressive career stretches from serving as president of the Warren Local FFA chapter in high school to being president-elect of The Ohio State University College of Agriculture Alumni Board.
 
The Elizabth L. Hadler Zonta Club Woman of the Year for 2013 is Becky Parlin Johnston, wife, mother and grandmother and - as one of her supporters said - someone for which  volunteerism has been a way of life. The list of organizations she has pitched in to help over the years is virtually endless.
 
The 2013 Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year Award went to Jerry James of Lowell and Gene Huck of Watertown, president and vice president respectively of Atrex Oil and Gas. They own and manage one of Ohio’s largest oil and gas producers, and are in on the ground floor of the new oil and gas extraction boom in eastern Ohio. They employ 16 people locally and 500 in its area of operations. 
 
And the Gabe Zide Citizen of the Year Award for 2013 went to former governor, lieutenant governor, state representative, director of the governor’s office of Appalachia, mayor and city council member Nancy Hollister.
 
She told WMOA News, “I don’t get caught by surprise very often but I sure was tonight. It’s great to be with such good folks, my fellow honorees. It’s a good class.”
 
Last night's keynote speaker, veteran Navy SEAL and endurance athlete Don Mann, says he fell in love with Ohio's first permanent settlement when he drove into town.
 
“It’s such a nice, quaint town, really a hidden gem as they call it. I was driving down the road, looking left and right at all these old buildings, and the hotel is amazing. And I’m honored to be here in this community tonight.”
 
Mann, who trained SEAL Team Six - among many accomplishments – says lessons he’s learned on his life’s journey lend themselves to motivating others.
 
“In my time being a SEAL and training others to be SEALs, I came up with a philosophy to follow for my whole life. In the teams we call it ‘combat mind set.’ When I speak on that to civilians, students, athletes and business people, I say there’s a lot of lessons we’ve learned that translate across disciplines and cross barriers. So I’ve been enjoying this last couple of years, traveling around and sharing what I’ve learned.”
 
Interviews conducted by Austin James
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