Six inducted into Chamber Hall of Fame
About 200 people attended the 18th annual Holton/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame banquet last Saturday, which honored two individuals and two couples who have made an impact in Jackson County.
This year’s event was held at the Prairie Band Casino banquet hall, and inductees included Mark Aeschliman, Gene Clark, David and Connie Powls and Gary and Marian Schlaegel.
Aeschliman, who established Aeschliman Construction 28 years ago and has helped lead economic development efforts here, spoke about the people, including his mother, grandmother, uncle and wife, who inspired him through the years and the impact they had on his life.
“I encourage you to find your inspiration and to also go out an inspire those around you to better themselves like people in my life have inspired me,” Aeschliman said. “You don’t know how much time there is, but I believe your time is right now.”
Longtime businessman Gene Clark of Clark Chevrolet and more recently Doug Richert Chevrolet has been involved in a variety of civic organizations in the community through the years and let two of his daughters, Christi Schumaker and Kim Clark, as well as longtime friend John Chiles, speak on his behalf during the award ceremony.
“We know the love he has for us also goes into the love he has for this community,” Schumaker said. “He has taken on many roles in the community over the years. He always tries to support organizations in the community, and he loves going to soup luncheons and meals put on by various groups as fund-raisers.”
David and Connie Powls, who have owned The Holton Recorder, for the past 25 years, have been instrumental in establishing several community programs, including the youth soccer program and the recent Patriotic Banner Project.
“Volunteer work with the Chamber has always been an important part of our overall work at the newspaper, and we’re always happy to promote the community,” David said. “This recognition inspires us to do more. We don’t feel we’ve done anything special to deserve this, but we’re honored to be recognized this way.”
Gary and Marian Schlaegel of rural Whiting have owned and operated a tax preparation and popcorn business in rural Whiting for many years and were active volunteers in 4-H and other organizations.
Their grandson, Jacob Yingst, who now leads the tax business, shared memories about the couple, as well as praised the other inductees.
“Without people like you, this community isn’t what it is,” Yingst said. “I am so thankful our community is filled with people like you. There is a ripple effect that will be passed on to the next generation, and it’s our job to pass it onto the next. And that’s how we keep this place special.”
Additional awards were presented during the ceremony. Tarwater Farm & Home Supply received the Trailblazer Award, which was accepted by Levi Tarwater and Abe Steinebach.
The late Dusty Sprague, who served as the community Santa Claus for many years, was the recipient of the Dianna Wilson Community Service Award. Donna Pool presented the award to Sprague’s wife, Tracy.
The Holton Community Theatre, represented by director Shannon Wittmer, received the Unity In The Community Award.