On Thursday, December 10th, the Wayland Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual Chamber Awards Gala at Bay Pointe Inn & Lakefront Resort. The purpose of this event is to recognize chamber members for outstanding service in one of three areas; Business of the Year, Community Service, and President’s Choice. An engaging presentation was given by Tim Gortsema, President of the Grand Rapids Griffins, who spoke on managing a business, appreciating employees, and having a work-life balance.
- Business of the Year Award – Green Acres of Wayland
The Chamber recognizes that the business that demonstrates growth and success through innovation, hard work, and exceptional customer service. The business is actively involved in contributing to the success of the community as a whole by their contribution of time, energy, and resources.
Green Acres of Wayland has contributed in many ways that have portrayed all criteria while enhancing our community. Green Acres have recently invested in Wayland by choosing to build their newest facility in our community that opened in the summer of 2015. Sixteen of their twenty homes are now occupied and they employ eighteen people. Innovation has been demonstrated with their “Main Street” concept which is their interior corridor lined with trees, street lights, window boxes, individualized facades, a post office and beauty salon. Hard work is routinely showed when the administrator stays late to help a resident move in and then returns to work in the middle of the night to check on another resident who has been ill. Great customer service is displayed when they treat their residents as unique individuals and doing what it takes to make them feel at home. Exceptional service to the community and chamber are demonstrated by their administrator who is an active board member for Allegan County Commission on Aging, serves as a chamber ambassador and serves as an executive committee member for Allegan Building Ties & Barry Health Service Network. Jennifer has also been active with Wayland Kiwanis, General Federation of Women’s Club-Gun Lake, and has represented the chamber as a Main Street Fall Fest volunteer.
To accept the Business of the Year Award was Jennifer Osentoski, Director of Green Acres of Wayland who expressed her gratitude to the chamber and community for the support stating, “I am truly blessed to work for such an amazing organization in such a wonderful community.” Chamber Executive Director Denise Behm stated that this award is as much about Jennifer, as it is the business, adding that Jennifer continuously goes above and beyond in everything she does to make Green Acres and our community a better place.
- Community Service Award – D.K. Sprague, Gun Lake Tribe
The Chamber recognizes this person for performing outstanding service to the Wayland area. The chamber is pleased to recognize D.K. Sprague for routinely reaching out to serve and better our community.
D.K. Sprague and the Gun Lake Tribe are strong supporters in a multitude of community and chamber events. One such event is the Glow-in-the-Dark 5K Run held in downtown Wayland each July. Not only did D.K. sponsor this event in 2015, he participated in it and brought twenty friends and family members with him. D.K. also secured the Title sponsor of the chamber’s annual golf outing in which he participated in and tied for first place. D.K. also supports the chamber’s annual expo by participating in the Awesome Chocolates candy auction and placing the winning bid in both 2013 and 2014 in which the proceeds went to the chamber’s annual charity. The Gun Lake Tribe’s Tribal Police Department help protect our community by providing police presence and support to area city, state, and county lawn enforcement agencies. The Gun Lake Tribe provides the community with routine and no-cost electronic and household hazardous waste recycling. The tribe continuously supports the Main Street Celebration summer by providing tribal dancers in full Native American dance attire to perform for the community. According to Chamber Executive Director Denise Behm, D.K. works selflessly for the chamber, community, Veterans, and citizens of the Gun Lake Tribe where he has been Chairman since 1992. Besides serving our community and chamber, D.K. proudly served our country from 1962-1971 in the U.S. Army. The chamber is proud to present this award to such a deserving, humble, and kind person that we continue to appreciate for everything he does.
- President’s Choice Award – Patty Koval, Greenridge Realty
The President of the Chamber looks at an area business, organization, or person that demonstrates outstanding leadership in bringing others together in the process of developing, sharing, and moving into a shared vision. The nominee would be an example of leading the way while setting and achieving predetermined goals.
According to Chamber President Paul Walker, Patty is someone who can always be depended on even if it means squeezing twenty-five hours into a twenty-four hour day. Walker continued to explain how Patty is a strong advocate for our Veterans and regularly attends fundraising events held by the V.F.W. and sponsoring two community events where the public was invited to attend to learn more about the Wayland V.F.W. Patty is a strong supporter of the chamber serving on the chamber board and as a chamber ambassador. She spent several years on the expo committee helping secure sponsorships and ensuring a safe landing area for three different helicopter landings. She also helped arrange for the first helicopter landing in 2011 – a UH-60M Blackhawk after which the pilots mentioned it was one of the best static displays they have ever experienced. Patty has also sponsored the annual chamber community Whitecaps night and has volunteered at the chamber annual golf outing. In addition to helping secure helicopter landing sites at the expo, she has a booth space and volunteers wherever needed before and during the event. In 2015, Patty placed the winning bid during our auction raising money for the annual chamber charity. Patty is there when something needs to be done and graciously accepts opportunities to help others. She is someone who has made a difference in the chamber as well as our community.
The Chamber is proud of all award recipients who support not only the Chamber, but many other organizations that help make Wayland a better place to live, work, and do business.