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'Tireless advocate,' 'inspiring' business owners receive Norwalk Area United Fund awards

Cary Ashby • Sep 20, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Several influential community leaders received awards Thursday morning from the Norwalk Area United Fund.

Four local schools were at the campaign kickoff breakfast at the Norwalk Eagles Club.

Representing Norwalk High School were principal Brad Cooley, junior Chance Raymond and senior Crimson Stuckert. From Western Reserve High School were district treasurer Brett Robson, principal Lisa Border and students Alyssa Good, Rachel Herbkersman and Ralph Missler. Also at the breakfast were Norwalk Catholic School president Martin Linder, St. Paul High School director of instruction Darren Conley and Monroeville Local Schools Superintendent Ralph Moore.

Pat Krause, Norwalk Area United Fund executive director, said it’s important to raise and nurture young people so they can give back to their community.

“Our students and schools are not our future; they are our present,” she added.

Board member Amy Little, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Monroeville, provided the prayer. Board president Ken Russ and first vice president Jeff Huber spoke before the brief award ceremony.

The John A. Elmlinger Extra Mile Award went to Howard Wilde, owner of Jake’s Autocare Inc., who was on the United Fund board for decades. Russ said Wilde has been “a tireless advocate” for the organization, has spent his life serving others and is passionate about doing the right thing.

Judge Timothy Cardwell, of the Huron County juvenile and probate courts, received the Community Commitment Award. He has implemented the family dependency court, civil mediation program and the juvenile drug and mental health intervention court. Cardwell also is the board president of the Reach Our Youth mentoring program.

The Cornerstone Award went to Ken Schafer, the past president of the Norwalk Economic Development Corp. and former owner/partner and president of Janotta & Herner in Monroeville. Russ said Schafer was instrumental in the creation of the Monroeville Athletic Complex at the high school and many district programs.

“I credit him with a lot of my success,” added Russ, who considers Schafer a mentor.

Brett Montague, second vice president, and past president Samantha Wilhelm presented the first Emerging Leader Award. It went to sisters Jessica Wasserman and Stephanie Van Fleet, who run Lyn Marie’s Coffee on Main in Monroeville and organized The Village Flea, a first-time event in the town in the summer. Wilhelm said the downtown coffee shop is known for its friendly atmosphere and will “warm your soul.”

“You set a very high standard for all of us,” Wilhelm said, referring to Wasserman and Van Fleet. “Your visionary leadership is something we all strive to achieve.

“Everything those girls touch is not only beautiful, but inspiring,” Wilhelm said. “They genuinely hope everyone is living their best life.”

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