MOUNT VERNON — The Heritage Centre Association held its annual awards banquet Thursday evening at The Alcove. The event honors those who have made significant contributions to the revitalization of downtown Mount Vernon during the past year.
HCA president Ted Rice began the evening with an update on becoming a member of the Ohio Main Street program of Heritage Ohio.
“We’re very, very excited about this,” Rice said. “We have been told by them we should be very optimistic about this.”
Rice said there would be a lot of benefits to the community from this program.
“The downtown is the heart of a community,” he said. “Especially of our community. How this downtown looks and how it does is a reflection of the economic and social condition of our community. It’s nice to have a good place to go. We have a walking community; many in this room live within walking distance of downtown and that’s a good thing.”
Heritage Ohio was developed as a statewide, not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and assisting people and organizations to protect and preserve their heritage. Historic preservation and downtown revitalization are vitally important in the movements to protect the buildings, landscapes, art, artifacts and landmarks the community has inherited.
Several awards were given to HCA members who have shown a dedication to the goals of the HCA. Awards were given to small, medium and large businesses.
The small-business nominations were, Auto Zone, The Root Art Center and Stability Fitness. Winner of the small-business award was Root Art Center owned by Andrew and Katherine Lane.
Nominees for the medium- business award were, Flappers Bar & Grill, Herald’s Appliances and Electronics and Sip’s Coffee House. The winner was Herald’s Appliances and Electronics owned by Phil Herald. Accepting the award for Herald was Aaron Oakley.
The large-business nominees were, COTC, First-Knox National Bank and the Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Winning the award was First-Knox National Bank. The award was accepted by bank president Gordon Yance.
The Spirit of Heritage Award honors the volunteer who has given significant amounts of time and energy to improve the vitality of downtown Mount Vernon. This year’s nominees were Patty Frazee, Krystal Drye and Dave Metcalf. This year’s spirit award went to Krystal Drye of First-Knox National Bank.
The highlight of the evening was the announcement of the Walter Rudin Award. This award goes to an individual who has shown a longtime commitment and made a significant contribution to downtown Mount Vernon. Each year the winner is kept secret until the announcement, which was preceded by a short video of old pictures of the recipient and interviews with people who know the winner. This year’s winner of the Walter Rudin Award was Sara Pifer.
When Pifer recognized herself in the video, she was both shocked and extremely moved.
“Oh my god,” she exclaimed when the video started. “I just want to say I’m shocked. I love downtown. I love heritage. I’m very proud of what we’ve done.
The award was presented by Patty Albaugh, daughter of Walter Rudin.
“I can just see my father smiling down tonight,” she said of Pifer receiving the award.