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Wednesday, January 16, 2013 7:22 PM

Chamber banquet, auction return Saturday

By CHRIS DUDERSTADT, Herald Staff Writer

The Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce is planning its annual banquet for 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Sacred Heart Parish Center, Fifth and Cedar streets.

The banquet’s theme, “Ottawa Past, Present and Future,” as well as other features of the event have organizers excited, John Coen, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, said. It’s Coen’s first such banquet as leader of the Chamber, having been appointed to his post in the fall.

“I’m just anxious for the organization to come together and highlight all the good things we have done in the past year,” Coen said. “And I look forward to great accomplishments in the year to come.”

Six people are expected to be honored for specific accomplishments, each receiving one of the following honors: Community Builder, Russell Crites community service, Entrepreneur, Horizon (new chamber member), Quarterly Image and Smile awards.

“We’ll be celebrating those individuals who have worked hard at making Ottawa a better place to live, and we’ll also take a look at the year in review and the different activities we have done,” Coen said. “We’ll have a slideshow that will show some of those and talk about where we have been in the past year.”

The banquet serves as a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce as well. A silent auction is planned with the proceeds to be split between the chamber and the Franklin County Historical Society.

“We’ve worked with the Franklin County Historical Society and arranging for the decorations of the evening,” Coen said. “We’ll be displaying a lot of the photos they have in their collection. So it ought to be a really interesting evening.”

Among the auction items will be historical prints of Franklin County, an outing at GreatLife Golf & Fitness, a Kindle Fire, an Ottawa University fan pack and a variety of gift certificates.

As of Friday’s RSVP deadline, Paula Reeve, Chamber vice president of operations, indicated about 150 people planned to attend Saturday’s banquet.

“I expect a very fun, pleasant evening of just socializing with all of the leaders in our community,” Coen said.


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