Aultman, Winner’s and Warner honored


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — The Darke County Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting on May 31. In addition to celebrating the past year’s accomplishments, the chamber presented its Community Leadership Award, Chamber Member of the Year Award and Chamber Citizen of the Year Award.

Rachel Neal, president of the chamber, announced the organization added 32 new members since last May. She said local businesses are recognizing the value of joining the chamber. She shared that membership in the chamber comes with outstanding networking opportunities and valuable information for businesses from many different committees, councils and events.

Neal also praised Past Chairman Joel Allread for his work leading the chamber and announced and presented a gavel to the 2024-25 Chairwoman Katie DeLand who steps into the leadership role.

Darke County Economic Development Director Mike Bowers presented this year’s Community Leadership Award to Matt Aultman. Bowers shared that Aultman has been involved with numerous organizations, including Darke County Commission, Darke County CIC, Darke County Chamber of Commerce, fair board, Farm Bureau, Ansonia and Versailles Schools and Wayne HealthCare Foundation to name a few. Aultman was also involved in the cleanup process after the March tornado when he organized local FFA chapters to help numerous families in their time of need. Bowers said, “Matt contributes to not only his community, but to the agricultural industry as well.” The director called Aultman an effective leader and visionary who strives to move the needle forward daily and is always looking for ways to make the county better. Bowers also said Aultman is humble and does not care who gets recognition or credit as long as the job is getting done.

Upon accepting the award, Aultman declared there were many more leaders in the community sitting at the tables in that room that were more worthy than himself. “I’ve been fortunate to work with every one of you trying to move the needle forward in Darke County,” he said. The county commissioner said he carries a poem in his wallet that he tries to live by every day. The poem is called A New Day. “This is the beginning of a new day. I’ve been given this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important because I’m exchanging it for a day of my life. When tomorrow comes it will be gone forever, leaving in its place whatever I have traded for it. I have pledged to myself that it shall be gain and not lost, good and not evil, success and not failure in order that I shall not regret living this day,” he said.

Kristi Strawser, secretary for the chamber’s board of directors, announced the Chamber Member of the Year. This year’s award was presented to Winner’s Meats. Strawser praised the business for being community minded. Winner’s is a fourth generation, family-owned business that provides high quality farm to table meats. The business was started in 1928 by Robert Winner. Strawser said the business has a generational commitment to the community and “they live and breathe our community”. The business stands out through their donations, fundraisers and engagement in community events. They are strong supporters of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School. Winner’s Meat recently received numerous awards for their products from the Ohio Association of Meat Processors.

Cousins Rob and Troy Winner accepted the award. Rob thanked the chamber for the recognition and gave credit for their success to those who came before. “Troy and I can’t take all of the credit for this. Our dads, grandpa, great grandpa started all of this. Our duty, our responsibility is to continue on with what they did,” he said. Strawser

Strawser also announced this year’s Chamber Citizen of the Year. John Warner, president and CEO of the Brethren Retirement Community, earned this honor. Strawser shared the lifelong resident of Darke County meets and exceeds the criteria to earn this honor. In addition to being actively involved in his church, he is also involved with GNB Banking Centers, Wayne HealthCare, Darke County Chamber of Commerce, Darke County Historical Society, Edison State Community College Foundation, Family Health Services and many more organizations. She said Warner is a person who looks first at what he can do for others and also continues to motivate and inspires others to be involved.

Warrner said he was shocked by the award. He added that he has also been reflecting on his life recently. “As I look around our community and I look around these tables and reflect back on all the great mentors I’ve had, not only in my business career, but when I was growing up, my parents and all the great mentors I’ve had in church. Those are the folks when you look back that had a great impact.” He said he also looks at the perspective of how he can give back and believes it is a privilege to be part of the Darke County community.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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