Manki, Burchell net top Ironwood awards
Executive director Tim Erickson gave an overview of the chamber's successes in 2013, including a 67 percent membership increase. He thanked everyone for their support of the chamber and touched on future projects, including a "bolder voice" in local governments and restoring Hiawatha.
To start the awards, chamber vice president Jon Parker presented the Gus Swanson Award to a company that goes "above and beyond" for the community.
The award was presented to J&J Broadcasting-WIMI/WJMS. Parker commented on the company's community involvement, including "The Joy of Giving" and "Shop With a Cop" efforts.
Ironwood Area Schools Superintendent Tim Kolesar presented the Man of the Year Award to someone who has "truly done great things for our school and our community."
Lt. Col. David Manki was honored for his service to the community and Kolesar spoke about Manki's time as leader of the Junior ROTC program at Luther L. Wright High School.
"He is bright, clever, resourceful, trustworthy, loyal and honest," Kolesar said. "He was born to inspire and he has helped so many kids become wonderful citizens in our community."
When Manki accepted his award, he was grateful for the honor.
"I've got the best job," Manki said. "Every day, when I drive in from Pine Lake, and I pass the Gile Flowage, and I ask God to let me make a difference with one kid today. I get to do that 180 days out of the year."
Business of the Year was awarded to Sue Murphy for River Valley Bank, and the award was presented by chamber president Peter Grewe.
Grewe said the company is "profession and people-minded with a strong importance on family."
Murphy said she and the employees are the bank "take great pride" in what they do, and thanked the chamber for the award.
Lee-Ann Garske introduced her "great friend" as the Woman of the Year, a title given to Annette Burchell.
"I cannot think of anyone more deserving," Garske said. "If there was a title Woman of the Decade, she would get that too."
Garske said Burchell is "always active in the community, and is a pleasure to work with."
"We are blessed to have her in our community, making it a better place," Garske said.
Burchell said she was "truly humbled and honored" to receive the award, and spoke of her "sweet" parents for giving her the opportunity to do the projects that are "truly a blessing."
"I'm just one person," Burchell said. "Thank all of you for making our little part of the world a better place."
The chamber also recognized new incoming members to the board. Mara MacKay, Sandy Harden and Mary Hampston were introduced as new board members.
The board officers are president Grewe, vice president Parker and treasurer Danette Terzano. Board members include Gary Kusz, Joe Terzano, Michelle Meneguzzo and Jill Superczynski.
"Our goal is to expand on the foundation we have laid and continue to move on into the future," Erickson said.