ST. HENRY — School administrators and businesses from three different western Ohio counties came together to honor their young people at the third annual 20 Under 20 Awards Wednesday evening.
Mercer County Economic Development director Jared Ebbing started the evening off by talking about the joint effort by Darke, Mercer, and Auglaize counties that made the awards possible.
“We’ve got three counties coming together – there are a lot of good things happening around here right now, and we should be proud of that,” Ebbing said.
Ebbing also took the opportunity to address the young people being honored.
“You’re our future,” Ebbing said. “How we want our community to look in five years, or ten. That’s entirely up to you.”
Ben Hartings, currently of Lewis Center, Ohio, served as keynote speaker for the event. Hartings, a native of St. Henry, has published books about surviving cancer and coping with the death of his young son, James, from Potter’s Syndrome.
“For the people here tonight – this may be your first award, but it probably won’t be your last,” Hartings said. “But why do we give awards? Why do we recognize people? We all come from immigrants; every single one of us, we stand on the shoulders of giants. And that history is what makes our community great.”
Just as modern-day Americans look to their ancestors for inspiration, Hartings said, the children of the future would one day look back at the people being honored today. Hartings encouraged those honorees to take stock of the support systems they have around them.
“If you go out and run a sprint, you don’t need anybody to do it with you,” Hartings said. “But if you run a marathon, you need training partners. You need people at checkpoints along the way, with water. Or people who can call for help, if you get hurt. Remember that you’re running a marathon, not a sprint. And those people sitting at your table, they’re your training partners.”
Tamala Marley, Workforce Specialist for Darke County Economic Development, introduced the eight Darke County students being honored at Wednesday’s event. All honorees were nominated by an instructor at their school, as well as by a supervisor at their place of employment.
“This is our way of recognizing students, schools, and businesses in our community that have worked together, with the result of excellence,” Marley said.
Darke County honorees included:
Kyle Mills, of Bradford, a student in Upper Valley Career Center’s welding co-op program, who works at Norcold and plans to enlist in the armed services in the fall.
Rianna Apple, of Greenville, a CTC student who recently earned her STNA. Rianna currently works as a nurse at Brethren Retirement Home.
Brooke Rademachir, of Arcanum, an MVCTC student who works at the Workshop Learning Center in Greenville. Brooke plans to pursue a degree in early childhood development.
Jacob Subler, of Greenville, a CTC student and apprentice at Mote and Associates.
Chevy Quinter, of Union City, an MVCTC student who also works at Norcold.
Connor Null, a Supply Chain Management student at Greenville CTC, who helped raise more than $15,000 for the Darke County Special Olympics.
Ronald Nischwitz, a Greenville CTC student who also works at SVG Motors in Greenville.
And Wyatt Shoemaker, of Pitsburg, an MVCTC student who also works at Ramco Electric Motors in Greenville.
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