Community leaders honored
The future looks bright for Lawrence County.
That was the message that Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus brought to this year’s Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce awards dinner.
“Lawrence County is positioned very well for the opportunities we have in the state of Ohio,” Niehaus told guests at the dinner Thursday at Ohio University Southern.
“We are on the verge of another energy boom,” he said. “Lawrence County can take advantage of that with its access to the railroad and access to the river. The next 10 years will be explosive because of opportunities here in southeast Ohio.”
Niehaus was the keynote speaker at the event that honored four community leaders.
This year’s Business of the Year Award went to St. Mary’s Medical Center Ironton Campus to pay tribute to the extent the hospital has supported the Lawrence County community.
The 24-hour emergency room operation opened in July with on-site imaging and lab services and specialty and family care doctors. Later this year Air Evac Lifeteam will provide a full-time medical transport helicopter to be based at the campus.
“This was a very long project and a lot of hard work went into the project,” Todd Campbell, senior vice president and chief operating officer, said on accepting the award. “Many people worked together to bring St. Mary’s here. What has been done here is to make businesses like St. Mary’s to want to be a part of the community.”
Dr. Arturo Roa, ears, nose and throat specialist, based in Proctorville, was honored with the Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Roa was responsible for the Liberty Circle Building next to Three Gables Surgical Hospital in Proctorville.
Before coming to Proctorville, Roa worked with Dr Ken Wolfe in Huntington, W.Va., for 10 years. But on accepting the award Roa said he came to Ohio because he was looking for more freedom in his professional life.
“I took the risk and things evolved,” Roa said. “Without a vision people perish. If I had the courage to do this it is because of my wife Ann’s support.”
The Lawrence County Young Professional of the Year went to City National Bank manager Massie Schemmel.
Schemmel, who was born in South Wales, has been a part of the Young Professionals, an organization under the umbrella of the chamber, for the past three years.
Last year she was the chair of the organization and has volunteered with the group’s Secret Santa project that each Christmas gives away winter clothing and toys to 600 needy children in the county.
“I am proud to call Lawrence County my adopted home,” Schemmel said. “I am fortunate to be able to give back to my community.”
Harriette Ramsey, Burlington Elementary librarian and president and founder of the Concerned Citizens of Burlington, was recipient of the Public Servant of the Year award. Ramsey was the only recipient to receive a standing ovation from the audience.
Introducing Ramsey was Ken Cook, superintendent of South Point schools.“She takes great pride in serving the Burlington community,” Cook said. “When she finds a door closed, she finds another way to get the resources to get the job done. Harriette saw a need to make things better. She is a willing servant. We need a few more Harriette Ramseys in the communities in Lawrence County.”