White, Tenney are 2023 Man & Woman of the Year

The 2023 Man and Woman of the Year Awards were presented to Dr. Terry White (seated, R) and Georgia Tenney (seated, L), respectively, during Thursday’s Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner. The awards are co-sponsored by the Times-Union and 1st Source Bank and were presented by David Slone (standing, L), Times-Union. and Doug Hanes (standing, R), 1st Source Bank. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union.
By David Slone

WARSAW — Every year the recipients of the Man and Woman of the Year Awards at the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner are surprised.

Thursday night’s ceremony was no different when Georgia Tenney received the Woman of the Year Award and Dr. Terry White was bestowed with the Man of the Year Award. The two awards are co-sponsored by the Times-Union and 1st Source Bank.

“I was surprised. Very surprised,” Tenney said after the dinner. “They told me that (Pierceton Town Councilman) Glenn Hall was getting an award and he would want me at his table. And that’s how they got me here.”

She said she loves the community of Pierceton and everything she does in it.

“There isn’t anything there that I would say, ‘I don’t want to do that anymore,’ because every single part of me is Pierceton, and that’s just the way it is. I raised my kids there. My husband – he was deceased last year – but he would be thrilled. He is watching this and he’s saying, ‘Yep, they did it right.’”

In announcing Tenney as the Woman of the Year for 2023, Times-Union Managing Editor David Slone said, “Our Woman of the Year has been a very active and committed member of our community for many years and is now retired, but continues to give back. She has an amazing heart for people and endless sacrificial energy.”

One person who nominated Tenney for the award said, “I have never met anyone more committed to serving the community with her time, energy and loving heart. Every time I see her, she is off to help serve somewhere, whether it’s at a community kitchen, food pantry, skilled nursing facility, church ministry, school board meeting, etc.”

Tenney goes above and beyond for the town of Pierceton, Slone said. She makes herself visible to business owners by walking in and sharing her “very contagious optimistic way of life.” She is always available to her neighbors and anyone in the Pierceton community for a little advice, help, a nice hug and has a prayer list she is always adding to.

While Tenney was not born in Pierceton, her heart and soul belong to it, Slone stated. 

Tenney worked for Pierceton Middle School for over 30 years and is on the Whitko School Board where she’s held various offices.

“Her list of volunteer activities is extensive,” Slone said of Tenney. She is involved with the Pierceton Chamber of Commerce as their treasurer, plans pancake breakfasts, spends her Fridays helping with Bingo at Miller’s Merry Manor; plays piano for students in solo and ensemble, for funerals and at church when needed; organizes and plants flowers and helps out at nearly every Pierceton event.

She is a member of the Pierceton Library Board, Pierceton Christmas Committee and works with the Pierceton Food Bank.

A second nominator said of Tenney, “Her help and commitment to our community is unmatched, and she is always willing to go the extra five miles – not just one mile. Knowing her is a gift.”

After the dinner, White said he was surprised but grateful.

“I lived here for a number of years, moved away and wanted to come back because this was home, and I’m so glad to give time and energy to the community,” he said. “I’m grateful for the award, I’m grateful for the recognition, but I also know there are hundreds of other people who deserve it as well.”

To get him to the dinner, Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts Executive Director Lakesha Green “told me to have a few words ready to say about the Symphony (of the Lakes), and so I did.”

He also told the sold-out crowd that, “Anyone who receives an honor like this knows that it’s really a group product, and this is such an honor to serve in this community, to live here.”

He thanked the Wagon Wheel for the opportunity to serve on its board, and encouraged everyone to check out the Symphony of the Lakes.

In presenting White with his honor, Doug Hanes, 1st Source Bank, said, in part, “Our man of the year has been involved in every facet of our community his entire adult life. He loves people and is well-known and loved by many in Kosciusko County. He devotes his time as well as his financial resources for the betterment of our community and the activities he is involved in.”

Ten other awards also were presented during the 112th Annual Awards Dinner after the keynote conversation between Ivan Tornos, Zimmer Biomet CEO and president, and David Findlay, Lake City Bank chairman and CEO.

A new award this year was the Legacy Impact Award, presented by Chamber President and CEO Rob Parker to Warsaw Cut Glass.

The LaunchPad Family Friendly Business Award was given to Polywood, presented by Glenn Hall and Leslie Friedel, of Stillwater Hospice. The award is given to a business that works toward providing innovative and creative solutions to support their employees’ family and childcare needs.

Male Fashions received the Main Street Impact Award, presented by Catherine Hill of PNC. The award is presented to a business or individual/business owner who has made a significant impact on downtown Warsaw.

The Making A Difference Award went to Wildman, presented by Rich Haddad, K21 Health Foundation. The recipient of this award is a business, nonprofit or service organization that has made a significant impact on Kosciusko County.

Sonja Hesser, of Horizon Bank, presented the Rising Star Award to Lake City Gymnastics. The award celebrates the county’s highest-performing new companies and recognizes those that have exceeded initial targets for growth and financial performance.

Robinson Construction received the Community Development Award, presented by Sandra Parra, Old National Bank. The award is presented to a Kosciusko County business in recognition of their outstanding contribution to community development.

The Business of the Year Award went to Zimmer Biomet, presented by Chris Wiggins, Lake City Bank. The award lauds a Kosciusko County business that has exhibited exemplary leadership, business growth and service to the community.

In the individual awards, two Chamber ambassadors received the Ambassador of the Year Award – Lake City Living’s Shawn Brown, who also received the award in 2022, and Chad Hummel, Silveus Insurance. The award, presented by Lauren Klusman, Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce, is given to an ambassador based on event attendance and level of commitment to the Chamber and its members. 

The Young Adult Professional Award recipient was Josh Silveus, who received it from John Warren of Crossroads Bank. The award is presented to an individual under the age of 40 who has achieved success and excellence in their field and has demonstrated leadership, initiative and dedication in pursuing their careers and commitments outside of work.

State Rep. Craig Snow was honored with the Government Excellence Award, which was presented to him by Matt Linville, of Zimmer Biomet. This award is given to a government official (elected or appointed) or government employee who has performed a particular service or overall effectiveness in office on behalf of residents within the county, is currently an employee or in any level of government office or has been out of office no more than two years and who has demonstrated commitment to supporting businesses.

Ivan Tornos (L), Zimmer Biomet CEO and president, is interviewed by David Findlay, Lake City Bank chairman and CEO, during the Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce’s 112th Annual Awards Dinner at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center Thursday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.