By Benjamin Gohs
Boyne City’s community champions were honored during the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards banquet on Thursday Jan. 16 at Boyne Mountain.
The winners were chosen out of more than 20 nominated organizations and people by 243 folks consisting of Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce members, area residents and visitors.
The Volunteer of the Year Award went to two people this year. Ruth Witenski was honored for her work with the Boyne Area Community Christmas Program.
“I want to thank everybody because your money makes it possible for what we as a group do and I thank you very much,” Witenski said.
Mike Hurchick was honored for his more than 25 years of work with Challenge Mountain.
“Coming in here I had no clue that this was going to happen,” said Hurchick. “Being a volunteer, this is not something you look for. You volunteer because you love what you do.”
The Community Pride Award, given to a local organization or non-profit, went to the Boyne District Library for its ongoing devotion to life-long learning and community involvement.
“We have a fantastic library and we appreciate all the support we get here,” said Boyne District Library Director Cliff Carey. “And I guess one good indication of a library is the fact that we have a lot of the staff that’s been there over 10 years and we have some really terrific people there.”
Carey emphasized the sheer amount of community support the library gets and added that a library mirrors the community in which it exists.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award, given for those who started or expanded a business, went to Jonathan and Matt Borisch for their Walloon Lake Village development.
“Thank-you for the honor. There’s a lot of people in this room that have worked really hard this year,” said Matt… “And thank-you for considering us part of Boyne City and the chamber. We’re a couple of miles outside and we’re thrilled to be part of what everybody would consider to be a leading community in Northern Michigan.”
The Heritage Award, given to those long-time business leaders with ongoing contributions to the community, was awarded to Pat O’Brien for contributing his time, advocacy and financial support to numerous local projects, including he and his staff giving portions of their commissions to local charities in the amount of $40,000.
“This is an office effort all the time,” O’Brien said. “It’s good to work with people you can really call family.”
The Historic Business Award went to Randy and Eric Frykberg of the Boyne Avenue Greenhouse, which has been operating in the same location since 1900.
“There is no way a business can exist that long without the support of a special community and that’s why we’re here,” said Randy.
Bob Grove won the Sally Roselli Business Leadership Award for his purchase of the Dilworth Hotel and his plan to make it a viable business once again.
“It’s going to happen,” said Grove… “We’re going to need a lot of help and it’s probably going to take about a year-and-a-half but it is going to happen.”
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Drake Nagel and Drue Wright for turning their college dream of operating a food truck into the Happy’s Taco Shop food truck.