VERSAILLES — Jerome Bey, Jr. was awarded the 2017 Citizen of the Year at the Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce banquet held Monday evening. Presenting the award on behalf of the Chamber was the recipient’s son, Jerry Bey III who is a director of the Board.
Bey III gave a warm and occasionally humorous presentation speech as he recounted some of the many selfless acts he witnessed from his father. He thanked his father for leading by example the virtues of faith, family and community.
Jerome F. Bey, Jr. addressed the audience expressing his gratitude for the special recognition and attributed his accomplishments as a direct result of the support of his wife of 46 years, Bonita. Bey expressed his deep love and pride for the community and its residents, He continued to convey how volunteering enriched his life and encouraged others involve themselves with the community to the extent of their time and talent.
Bey is a lifelong resident of Versailles, where he attended St. Denis Catholic School and Versailles High School. He served four years in the US Navy and ever since his return to Versailles in 1974 has devoted much of his community service through his membership with the Versailles American Legion Post #435, having served as Commander, and a present day Trustee. He is also a member of the Honor Guard for Military funerals, football games, and Veteran Assemblies. And for the past 15 years he has served as Master of Ceremonies each Memorial Day and coordinating the villages’ annual Easter Egg Hunt.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Bey assisted the Versailles Life Squad by washing the vehicles for a number of years, volunteering set and costume designing for high school musicals, and working on behalf of the Versailles Alumni Association.
Jerome served many years mentoring Versailles youths as a Cub Scout Den Leader and assistant Scoutmaster, co-chaired the renovations of the Versailles Swimming Pool, served 10 years on the Poultry Days Committee and still helps annually with the Poultry Days clean-up. He even served four years on the Versailles Development Association which is now known as the Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce—the organization from which he received his recognition. Although now officially retired he works part time at the Versailles Ace Hardware, serves a weekday Mass and assists with funeral Masses at St. Denis.
The Beys have six children (listed with their spouses): Jerry and Sundra, A.J. and Cindy, Lisa and Chris Heid, Sandy and Mark Buynak, Benjamin and Emily and Antony who is in the United States Navy, and 18 grandchildren.
Travis Faber on behalf of Ohio Senator Keith Faber presented Bey with a Proclamation that read, “A man’s success is measured by his family and his family’s success is the result of his example given.”
The evening included the presentation of the People, Pride and Progress Award to the Towne & Country Players for extraordinary service and dedication to the Greater Versailles Area Community.
The T&CP is a 501c3 non-profit community theater group dedicated to keeping the arts accessible to the community. The group was first formed in 1972 under the name of the Versailles Community Chorus and each year produces multiple quality programs. Since its inception the group has won numerous awards for costume designs. In 1990 they represented the United States in Scotland.
They are responsible for the summertime entertainment at the fountain square; other venues have been musicals, murder mysteries, comedies, dramas, dinner theater, children’s theater, library lawn presentations, Easter and Christmas cantatas, even Halloween parades and Christmas concerts.
The theater group established the Esther Pitsenbarger scholarship in the mid 90’s and has awarded more than $10,000 in college tuition while immortalizing Esther Pitsenbarger, who was a beloved teacher who knew and utilized the power of music to ignite her student’s development. The group also implemented a Lifetime Achievement Award again bearing the Pitsenbarger name.
The award was presented by Chamber secretary Kathy Magoto, who spoke of community endeavors performed beyond the stage. She touted the member’s enthusiasm and dedication to the community, stating that individually the members volunteer within their churches and throughout the community.
Magoto concluded by saying, “An organization is nothing without its members and it’s that individual devotion and dedication that makes Towne & Country Players a living legacy and most worthy of the People, Pride and Progress Award.”
The Towne & Country Players also received a Proclamation from Ohio Senator Keith Faber, presented on his behalf by Travis Faber. Both awards were accepted by T&CP president Angie DeMange. Other members of the T&CP on hand were: Jim Kelch, Therese Pohlman, Lynn Blakeley, Keith Rawlins, Bonnie Phlipot, Kim Borchers, Ron Asman, and Tammy Collins.
The evening included a report from chamber president Aaron Moran and the re-election of six board directors to new 2-year terms: Scott Langston, Fred Poeppelman, Rodd Hale, Leslie Comer, Jackie Briscoe, and Aaron Moran. Other board directors are: Dan Watren, Mitch Eiting, Brian Wagner, Jerry Bey III, Ron Mescher and Kathy Magoto whose term expires in 2018. Moran last official act as president was fulfilled. Rodd Hale will be the Chamber’s new president throughout 2017 and 2018.
The event was held in the Riviera Banquet Room, Stillwater Valley Golf Course. On hand were chamber members, past Citizen of the Year; Richard Gigandet (1997) and James Poeppelman (2007), members of the village council, school board, police and fire departments, Knights of Columbus, state representatives, county commissioners, business persons, and other active members of the community.