By Sydney Delosh
Mason Times staff writer
Mason celebrated outstanding citizens on Feb. 8 at its 26th Annual Mason Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner at the Eldorado Golf Course Banquet Center.
This evening, which included a social hour and dinner, brought together Mason citizens including the board of directors from the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce, event sponsors, past award recipients, and the 2012 award recipients and their families.
The MACC held its first award ceremony in 1987 and began by giving out only the award of Citizen of the Year. In 1996, the chamber of commerce added the President’s Award, Excellence in Education Award and the Excellence in Business Award. Six years later, the chamber added the Special Recognition Award. Today, all five awards are presented at the annual ceremony.
MACC President Doug Klein believes that recognizing citizens for their work in the community is important.
“Our community is good about that,” Klein said. “Our school board, our city council, and chamber of commerce. We all try to make sure that the people in our community who give back are recognized for all they do. You couldn’t do it without them.”
After the social and dinner hours, Klein began the award presentations.
Mason citizens can be nominated for any of the five awards by fellow citizens or nominate themselves for any award except the Citizen of the Year Award.
The first award presented was the President’s Award. This award is given to the community member who has in recent years contributed to the fulfillment of the chamber’s goals. Robin King-Fuller, manager of Mason’s Independent Bank, was this year’s recipient. She has been a board member for the Mason Promise Scholarship and was one of the founders of Thursday Night Live, a summer concert program that brings local bands to the courthouse square.
The Special Recognition Awards went to Scott Shattuck and the Mason Public Schools Foundation. Shattuck, a Mason High School graduate who teaches at Mason Middle School and coaches the Mason girl’s basketball team, was honored for his recognition of local Civil War veterans; especially those from Ingham County he helped create a Civil War Memorial for in December of 2011.
Mason Public Schools Foundation was recognized for its help in providing schools with equipment the support it provides Mason students in furthering their education.
Dart Bank, which was founded in Mason 87 years ago, received the Excellence in Business Award. Bank President Peter Kubacki accepted the award with help from Rollin B. Dart, grandson of Dart Bank’s founder Rollins C. Dart and current chairman emeritus and community relations officer.
Dart thanked the community for the bank’s success throughout its long history in Mason.
“We have such wonderfully caring people in our bank,” Dart said. “I know it’s the people we live with in the Mason community. It’s such a caring community. You all, in your own little ways, have helped and created any success that we have had.”
The Excellence in Education Award was presented to Jeremy Mills, an English teacher at Mason High School Summit Campus. Throughout his 10 years at the school, Mills has assisted in efforts to improve its technology and mentored teachers and students.
“When you are doing that much mentoring you are also doing a lot of reflecting and you are doing a lot of learning,” said Mills. “You continue to improve your own practice.”
Finally, the Citizen of the Year Award was given to a former chamber president Jeff Haueter. As a member of the Mason community for 24 years, Haueter has been active in many groups and committees, including the Knights of Columbus Council, in which he currently serves as Grand Knight, and the Mason Optimist Club, from which he received the Optimist of the Year Award in 1996.
Before presenting the award, Klein invited Mayor Leon Clark and Mason’s City Council to the front to read a proclamation in Haueter’s honor. Clark invited Haueter’s family, including his parents, wife, Linda, and two sons, to the front to stand with him while the proclamation was read.
After the proclamation, State Sen. Joe Hune read a special tribute signed by State Rep. Barb Byrum in honor of Haueter’s accomplishment.
When Haueter approached the podium to begin his acceptance speech, he placed a stuffed bear, A&W’s mascot the Great Root Bear, on the podium to promote Mason’s A&W, which Haueter has been manager of since 1988. In his speech, Haueter acknowledged other leaders in the community, previous winners, and his family.
Haueter said he hopes to continue his volunteering and working close with the community.
“I just want to be able to continue doing what I’m doing and volunteer for our wonderful community and help the city of Mason grow,” he said.