Wells Named Citizen Of The Year

OACDG Board President Carri VandeRee, Citizen of the Year Vernie Wells, and OACDG Director Ann Frost. (submitted photo)

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Oskaloosa Area Chamber and Development Group held their annual banquet on the campus of William Penn University on Thursday evening. It was their 138th such banquet in their history.

Wells was honored for his years as a business leader, and mentor to many Oskaloosan’s, since starting his business in the 1940s.

OACDG Chamber Director Ann Frost told the crowd to start the evening, “So not only are we here tonight to celebrate you, and all you do for Oskaloosa, but we are also here to celebrate Oskaloosa as a community.”

“We have been a community for 175 years,” Frost continued. “In 1844, Oskaloosa was formally platted when William Canfield moved his trading post business here. Throughout the 1880s, over 1 million tons of coal was mined from 38 different mines around the area. In 1895, coal mining in our area surpassed all other Iowa counties. We have always been a community of hardworking and a booming local economy.”

Frost continued with local history by saying, “Oskaloosa hosted the Iowa State Fair in 1858 and 1859 before the Civil War.”

“In 1864 the Oskaloosa City Band was formed. They were the KT Band, or the Knights Templar Band. It has been going strong ever since,” Frost added. “In 1934, Oskaloosa became the first city in the United States to fingerprint every man, woman, and child.”

“We have an eclectic history of music, arts, culture, education, inventors, visionaries, and development,” Frost said of the people that have made Oskaloosa what it is today. “We have always been a community of diversity and acceptance. This is seen in our university, William Penn University. William Penn opened their doors in 1873 to anyone who wanted an education. Man, woman, African-American, or Caucasian. There is value in everyone, a statement that William Penn University stands behind. It’s true for our whole community.”

“Oskaloosa is valuable. You are valuable,” Frost said as she wrapped up her introduction for the evening.

Old Oak Award: George Daily Auditorium

Acorn Award: WanderLunch
Golden dipper, runner up: Michelle Rupprecht
Golden Dipper: Pat McCulley
Main Street Leadership Award: Janet Kuskie
Main Street Iowa Remarkable Retail Promotion: Women’s Night Out (Osk Retail Comm, OMS, and OACDG)
Main Street Business of the Year: Brown’s Shoe Fit
Retail Business of the Year: Penn Central Mall
Service Business of the Year: LDI
Industry of the Year: Tassel Ridge Winery
Business Person of the Year: Brian Myers
Community Improvement Award: Oskaloosa Fire Station
Educator of the Year: Andy and Allison McGuire
Chuck Russell Award: Ken and Ginger Allsup
Special Award, Polar Vortex: The City Snow removal
Citizen of the Year: Vernie Wells
Up and Comer: Deb Linder

Posted by on May 10 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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