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Franklin Area Chamber Elects Board, Names 2009 Award Winners

FRANKLIN—The Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce elected new board members and officers, and presented its annual awards at the organization’s annual meeting on June 20.

Elected to three-year terms were Steve Simpkins of Simpkins Insurance; Anita Carroll of the Franklin-Springboro Public Library; Charlie Samaan of JD Legends; and Denise Price of the Holiday Inn Express.

2009-2010 officers are President Tonya Bowman from National City Bank; Vice President Charlie Samaan; and Treasurer Susan Svarda of AFLAC. Continuing their board terms are Allan Power of GTCO; Liz Buchanan from the Deardoff Center Board; and Jim Ruppert of Ruppert, Bronson, and Ruppert. Arnol Elam, Superintendent of Schools, and Jim Lukas, Franklin City Manager, have permanent seats on the Board. Peggy Darragh-Jeromos is the Chamber’s Executive Director.

The Chamber also presented seven awards to individuals and organizations. Rita Maschmeier was named the 2009 Citizen of the Year. She was cited for her generosity and strong advocacy for people, the Chamber, and the local business community. In December 2008, she offered a $1,000 matching challenge for a Chamber fundraiser, which resulted in a $2,838 donation from the Chamber to Franklin's Food Pantry.

Franklin graduate and Springboro attorney Jeff Kirby was awarded the Eldridge Award for Historical Preservation for his book “Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat.” The award noted that Kirby’s book “honors and preserves the people, places, and feeling of Franklin in the 1970s.”

Landmark Kitchen and Bath Shoppe, 223 South Main Street, received the Thirkield Award for Commercial Property Renovation. Owners Donnie Hale and Steve Schweiterman upgraded and renovated the former site of the Landmark Restaurant on South Main Street. Their award noted that Landmark’s upgrades had made the entire block more attractive.

Nancy Osborne, Carlisle graduate and organist at the Franklin First United Methodist Church, was the recipient of the Perry Maxwell Award for fostering community goodwill. In 2008, she had a vision to feed the hungry in our community through summer lunches and evening community dinners. Her award noted, “Thousands have been fed as a result of her work.”

Richards Monument, 1095 North Main Street, was named the Industry of the Year. The company is owned by Franklin graduate Jerry Richards. The award noted that Richards “performed beautiful renovations on its property, has invested in the Franklin community, and shows strong commitment to customer satisfaction.”

Senior Independence Adult Day Center, 333 Conover Drive, Suite A, was named Business of the Year. Cheryl Anglin is the Site Coordinator. The award noted that Senior Independence “provides wonderful service to our community’s seniors and to the families who are caring for an older person. They have also demonstrated a strong commitment to the Franklin community, lending their van to community events such as the Historical Society’s ‘Spirits of Franklin’ tours.”

The President’s Award was given to Cherie Cooper-Darragh, Chamber director from 1996 to 2009. Her award noted that she “showed tireless devotion to our area’s business community. Her work helped to reinvigorate and grow an organization that is integral to health of local businesses. Through her work on the Heritage Triangle, the bike path, and the Vietnam Wall (just to name a few examples), she helped to raise the profile of the Chamber and by extension, the community.” Cooper-Darragh left the Chamber in February 2009 to assume a position with Grantmakers in Aging.

The Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1947, is located in the Huntington Bank building at 340 S. Main St. The Chamber’s website is and the phone number is 937-746-8457. Meetings are the third Monday of the month at 11:45 a.m.
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