Marietta chamber issues awards at dinner

MARIETTA – Nancy Putnam Hollister has had plenty of “firsts” in her life – first woman mayor of Marietta, first female elected lieutenant governor of Ohio, and first woman to serve in the state’s highest office-completing the unexpired term of former Gov. George Voinovich when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998.

On Monday Hollister was honored with another “first”-for her, at least – as recipient of the 2013 Gabe Zide Citizen of the Year Award.

She was presented the award by last year’s recipients, Charlie and Keelan McLeish, during the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce’s 98th annual Dinner at Dyson-Baudo Recreation Center on the Marietta College campus.

“For someone who’s made a lot of speeches, I don’t know what to say,” Hollister said on receiving the award.

“This is my home, my roots, my family, the love of my life,” she said. “Marietta has always been first place for me in all of the state of Ohio.”

State Rep. Andy Thompson said he was glad for Hollister’s well-earned recognition.

“Nancy has always been a great leader for our city and state, and it’s good to see the town her ancestors helped found honor her in such a great way,” he said.

The Citizen of the Year award is given to a Washington County resident who gives of himself or herself to make the community a better place. Criteria for the award include contribution in one or more of the following areas: community service projects, working with youth, church activities, and civic improvement.

Hollister has met those requirements and more, working with numerous state and local organizations, including the Ohio Municipal League, Mid-Ohio Valley Mayors Association, Marietta Kiwanis, Colony/Hippodrome Theatre, Southeastern Ohio Port Authority and Washington County Farm Bureau.

She’s a member of the Betsey Mills Corporate Board, Ohio Historical Society Board of Trustees, Campus Martius/Ohio River Museum Board, and Marietta College Board of Trustees.

Her nomination letter read, “These activities, both volunteer and political, have benefitted Marietta and Southeastern Ohio. Nancy has always considered our community in her many roles. Furthermore, she has accomplished all while cultivating a strong marriage to her husband, Jeff, and raising five children in a loving and stable family environment.”

Jerry James and Gene Huck, president and vice president, respectively, of Artex Oil, one of Ohio’s largest oil and gas producers, were honored with the 2013 Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Leader of the Year award.

James, from Zanesville, has served as president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA), and has been honored as recipient of the 2012 Workhorse Award by the Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association, as well as OOGA’s Oilfield Patriot Award, recognizing efforts to protect, promote and advance the common interests of Ohio’s crude oil and natural gas producing industry.

Huck has gas and oil field experience throughout the U.S., and has supervised drilling operations in Louisiana and Arkansas, as well as worked with the industry in New Mexico, Illinois, Mississippi and Texas. He manages field operations for Artex Oil, which employs 16 people in the Marietta headquarters, and helped create approximately 500 jobs in its area of operations.

Ralph Coffman was presented the Washington County Council of Cooperatives’ Agriculture of the Year Award. A longtime agriculture educator, communicator and advocate, Coffman’s career spans nearly four decades.

Wife, mother, grandmother and businesswoman Becky Parlin Johnston of Marietta received the 40th Elizabeth “Betty” L. Hadler Zonta Woman of the Year award Monday.

The award, given by the Zonta Club of Marietta every year since 1974, recognizes a woman from the Marietta area for dedication to the community as a volunteer. The club is affiliated with Zonta International, a professional organization that supports the legal, educational, political, social and economic status of women around the world.

Johnston’s service to the community began with Easter Seals in the late 1980s, and she later volunteered with the “Incredible Playground” building project through fundraising, planning and designing of the playground. Her leadership there was also honored by the Chamber of Commerce.