Taylor honored at annual Chamber celebration
An immediate standing ovation greeted Berne police chief Tim and Stephania Taylor and family on Tuesday evening when it was announced that their son, Nick, who gave his life in Afghanistan last summer, has been selected as this year’s Berne Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.
Family members said there were no words to describe what the award means to them or to describe the meaning of witnessing the city’s entire business community giving a standing ovation on behalf of their son.
The award was presented at the annual Chamber of Commerce members’ celebration dinner and awards program. Popular WBCL radio personality Jim Barron provided the program.
In addition, Limberlost Construction Company was honored with the presentation of the Chamber’s Business of the Year award.
Floyd Liechty, in introducing the citizen award, said of Taylor, “soon everyone would see this kind, gentle, warm and friendly personality wrapped up in this little bundle of joy as he grew, matured and impacted the world.
“July 16, 2012, brought an end to this young man’s life as Nick was targeted by gunshot fire that brought his life to an end in the providence of Kandahar. As opposed to many other countries, with the Taylors leading, we, as a community, grieved and continue to grieve with dignity, honor and respect,” said Liechty.
Geneva Bank president Andrew Briggs introduced the Business of the Year award to Limberlost Construction and owner Mike Schwartz.
In referring to both Schwartz and his father, Amos Schwartz, Briggs said, “He and his father made history in 2008 when they were both given awards the same day for historical restoration.”
Schwartz said that he will never forget the day when he and his two brothers visited Andrew Briggs’ father, Jimmy Briggs, at the Bank of Geneva and asked for a $9,000 loan to start a business.
“I will never forget,” said Schwartz. “He looked at us and said, ‘you boys come from good roots. I believe you know what you are doing. I will grant the loan.’
“It is hard to put into words how much I appreciate this recognition and what it means to Limberlost Construction,” said Schwartz. “It was 31 years ago next month when we approached Jimmy Briggs about that loan.”
Schwartz’ voice grew tender with emotion when he credited his father for much of the person that he is today.
He noted that the elder Schwartz, who is seriously ill, was very disappointed because he couldn’t be present for the award.
“He is more excited about this than I am,” said Schwartz. “Like any parent, he is more excited about his children’s success. Much of the credit for my success goes to my father.”
Schwartz said he has always admired his father’s positive attitude and referred to a comment made by Amos Schwartz that has always meant a lot to him.
“He said, ‘you know the government is talking about a recession. If they want a recession, let them have it, but I refuse to participate,’” said Schwartz.
Board members recognized for service to the Chamber include Jeanne Akins, Andrew Briggs, Ron Habegger, Matt Henry, Jason Hilty, Floyd Liechty, Brad Lichtenberger, Mayor Bill McKean, Sharon Neuenschwander, Chris Reusser, Jennifer Reusser, Tracy Roudebush, Mark Settlemyre and Jack Sloan.
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