By Meladi Brewer
VERSAILLES — The 2021 “Citizen of the Year” and “People Pride Progress” awards were presented to deserving citizens and organizations of the Versailles community.
The Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce (VACC) Board of Directors held their annual dinner banquet on Monday at the Riviera Banquet Room at Stillwater Valley Golf Course. The banquet brought the community together while honoring those who have gone above and beyond the average citizen.
The “People Pride Progress” award was presented an organization who have went above and beyond the call in ways of achievements and giving back to the community. The Versailles FFA was given the award for their strong academics and National recognition.
“Your potential is endless, and we are honored to have you tonight as the 2021 People Pride and Progress Recipients,” Vice President Kim Custenborder said.
The Versailles FFA was established in 1935 and has been an active group in the community while achieving numerous accomplishments. It is a top 10 chapter in the state of Ohio and is recognized with the highest ranking it can be, three stars.
“Additionally, in the past year, they have brought National Proficiency Award winners and two National Finalists in the Versailles FFA,” Custenborder said. “In the past five years, the chapter has had five National winners and ten finalists in the Proficiency Awards.”
The Versailles FAA is continuously growing and is now the largest chapter in the Miami Valley with 189 members who excel in all endeavors.
“In the past year, the Versailles FFA Environmental and National Resource Team placed ninth at the National level. In Ohio, the Wildlife team placed first, the Environmental National Resource Team has also placed first in 2021 at the state level,” Custenborder said.
The Versailles FFA not only competes for titles but gives back to the community any way they can. In the past year, they have hosted a toy drive, canned food drive, a free farm safety night, an EMT Firefighters Safety Program, have made nursing home visits, and the list can go on. Custenborder finished the introduction for the award with a quote that reminds her of the FFA today.
“A program lead by one of the Nation’s top FFA teachers, Mrs. Dena Wuebker and Miss Bergman, and that quote is, ‘great leaders find ways to connect their people and help them fulfill their potential.’” Custenborder said. “Thank you to Mrs. Wuebker, your staff, the people who have graduated as FFA members, parents and current members for all you do for our community.”
“We want to thank you very much for this honor,” Dena Wuebker said. “A quote I’ve lived by the last 28 years at Versailles is ‘service is the right we pay for living,’ so that’s one of the things that we try to emphasize to our students. The importance of giving back to the community.”
Wuebker continues on by stating the program is fortunate to have the opportunities to travel in order to participate in various activities, and for the couple who received the next award, their opportunity arose after they were able to travel to a supportive community back in 1991.
Mike and Carol Schuh were named as the 2021 “Citizens of the Year” recipients.
Custenborder read from an article written by Jayden Litten, a senior basketball player at Versailles, because she felt she could not find better words to describe the couple than he did.
“There will be citizens who go above the norm. There will be citizens who give without asking for anything in return. There will be citizens who are extraordinary in every sense of the term, and then there will be that one person, or in this case in Versailles partners who change the world for every person they work with,” Custenborder said.
The Schuhs received the award due to their gratuitous time and dedication to the Athletic Department at Versailles High School.
“With previous nominations, we knew about the award, but I never dreamed it would be us,” Carol said.
Everyone in Versailles knows Mike because of his “famous hot dogs and popcorn” that he has been providing to the community since 2002 when he took over the concession stands for all sports. Unfortunately, after more than 20 years, he had to step down due to some health conditions.
“And Mike’s key to success, as Carol pointed out, was that he never said no to anyone,” Custenborder said.
When Litten asked Mike about the secret to his hot dogs, Mike joked with him and said, “just plain ole water.”
Carol started taking tickets around the same time, and is still currently taking tickets at all the home games to this day. Ben Thaeler, an aide for Congressman Warren Davidson, spoke about the Schuhs and commended them on their dedication and representation of the community before presenting them with an accommodation for Congressman Davidson.
“When you walk through the doors and you see the folks there at the table, that’s going to be your first impression of a community,” Thaeler said. “I think a lot of times people take it for granted, but to get that representation of this community is a huge honor.”
“I (Litten) questioned why a couple not from Versailles would dedicate so much time to the community, without missing a beat, Mike responded with ‘the people,’” Custenmorder said.
The Schuhs said the adults and the kids alike are respectful. They stated the children are still respectful outside of the school as well.
“Everybody is friendly. You can go anywhere and everyone knows everyone,” Mike said.
“We weren’t born here, but we got here as quick as we could,” Carol said.
Mike would like to thank the school for putting up with him for as long as they have. He also thanks the janitors for cleaning up the mess he made every night, and everyone who has helped him.
“I get all the credit, but everyone else did all the work. I was just kind of the overseer,” Mike said. “If it weren’t for my health, I would still be there.”
Carol added they’ve just had fun over the years, and she still enjoys taking tickets.
“I don’t know when I’m going to quit, but it won’t be for a while,” Carol said.
To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].