25th Rural-Urban Dinner honors achievers

A tradition carried on recently with the 25th annual Jennings County Community Rural-Urban Dinner.

About 120 civic leaders and community members enjoyed an evening of dinner, entertainment, information and celebrations of achievements March 20 at Willow Lake Event Center in North Vernon.

The Rural-Urban Dinner was founded as a way to recognize achievements in the areas of agriculture and conservation, and formerly was sponsored by the Jennings County Chamber of Commerce.

While the Chamber closed in April 2016, the traditional dinner has endured.

“When the Chamber of Commerce folded, many of us agreed it was a tradition worth keeping. There is no one agency that is responsible for this year’s dinner. A whole lot of people came together and worked really hard to keep this going,” said Barb Shaw, the Jennings County Community Foundation director.

A notable part of the program was the presentation of awards for outstanding achievements in the community. They were:

  • 10-Year 4-H Award, for successful participation in the 4-H Program. Recipients were: Abby Burnside, Allie Clark, Hunter Gatewood, Rachel Greene, Hailey Huff, Ashley Maschino, Emma McPeek, Brooklyn Noblitt, Hannah Simpson, Joseph Yoder
  • Indiana FFA Hoosier, Tyler Redicker
  • Young Adult Leadership Award, Allie Clark
  • Civic Award, City of North Vernon and The Christmas in the City Committee
  • Community Service Award, Lowe’s Distribution Center Employee Volunteer Group

North Vernon Mayor Mike Ochs said the city didn’t know it would receive the Civic Award.

“They said it was the first year for the Civic Award and they gave it to us because the whole town came together for the Christmas In The City night. That was an amazing night, and so was this,” Ochs said. “It just shows the good that comes when people come together to do something.”

Special Recognition was given to all 25 winners of Community Service Awards given throughout the Rural-Urban Dinner’s history, with special recognition given to Bob Steiner for his longtime service on the committee.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Matt Hartman, an area farmer and business manager for Koenig Equipment.

Jennings County Middle School Una Voce provided the entertainment with their show-competition performance.

“The crowd loved it,” said Joanie Van Horn, the community foundation’s assistant director.