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Three honored at Chamber banquet

WORTHINGTON -- Laughs at good jokes, laughs at bad jokes and a chance to share memories of Chamber beginnings were all found at the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet Friday evening.

Wally Onnen, the 2009 board chairman, laid out his plans for the coming year. He said he wanted to solve the community's housing crisis, be inclusive toward minority business owners and increase the number of local youth sports tournaments -- all while continuing to develop local favorites such as King Turkey Day, the International Festival and the Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival.

Three awards were also presented.

"This individual is a great example for the students and teachers because the individual has never stopped learning," said Don Fleming as he presented the Friend of Education Award to St. Mary's School volunteer Sherry Benton.

"Take time for a child, a student in education," said Benton, who instructs second- and third-graders in science and social studies. "It's invaluable."

Presenting the Worthington Hospitality Award was Becky Berning. She read a letter from Mike Woll that detailed how Kelly Eggers, of Mick's Repair, assisted two women whose car had broken down in cold weather.

"He did it for no charge," read the letter. "It's guys like Kelly and places like Mick's Repair that make Worthington a special place."

"There's so many people involved. It's a community effort to make a community grow," said Kelly Eggers, who accepted the award with his father, Mick Eggers.

The Community Service Award went to Marv Spomer, who serves on the Government Affairs and Community Appearance committees of the Chamber and is a Chamber Ambassador.

"In 2003, after 40 years in the automobile business, Marv sold the GM Dealership here in Worthington, but he did not stop his service to the Worthington Area," read presenter Alvin Kooiman. "(He) has given tirelessly to this community and has gone far above and beyond the call of duty."

"People say nothing is happening in Worthington," said Spomer. "You see an overhead view of Worthington (from the past) and you would not believe all the changes that have taken place."

Award presentations were followed by a performance by juggler-comedian Jason Huneke, who used Mayor Alan Oberloh as one of his volunteers.

"If you learn anything from the show today, it is to ... do business with the Chamber. That's the message they wanted me to incorporate," quipped Huneke.