Both Linda Meloche, the 2012 Citizen of the Year, and Dave Killips, the 2012 Lifetime Achievement winner, were honored in grand style Thursday night by both elected officials and community members during the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce banquet at the Village Conference Center.
Bruce Szcodronski, president of the chamber and the manager of the Comfort Inn, summed it up nicely. “This is a great night for two wonderful people.”
With community involvement resumes too long to list, Meloche and Killips, served as outstanding examples of what makes Chelsea such a special community — its selfless people.
And the two walked away with more plaques than they could carry – one each from the city, the county, the state, and Congress, extolling the two winner’s leadership roles, love of family and the Chelsea community.
Deb Hubbard, nominated and introduced her sister, then explained that although many people assumed it was for “Around Town with Linda,” that was not the case.
Hubbard said she nominated her sister “for the way she connects with people,” and the letters of support for her nomination honed in on Meloche’s “friendliness, supportiveness, ideas and energy, natural empathy, positiveness and ‘extravagant generosity in connecting with others.’”
“2012 has been a banner year for me,” Meloche said. “I turned 50, had my first colonoscopy and now this,” which drew laughter from the crowd.
She recalled the thrill she had while riding in this year’s 75th annual Chelsea Community Fair Parade – in seeing family and friends, people she hadn’t seen in years, and even those she didn’t know — yelling and waving at her. All candy tossing aside, she said, what she felt was a tremendous outpouring of love from everyone there “… without the inconvenience of dying,” which also got everyone laughing.
She called the award and the night “another moment from my life that I’ll never forget.”
Art Dil nominated and introduced Killips, who was also named the 2012 Superintendent of the Year for Region 8 prior to his retirement as Chelsea Superintendent of Schools this summer.
Killips was praised for his sound decision-making on behalf of not only the school district and the students but also Chelsea Community Hospital as chairman of the board of directors during the hospital’s expansion.
“You never go looking for this honor,” Killips said of his lifetime achievement award.
Then he recalled two stories. One was about the late Bob Daniels would told him on their first meeting before his first home football game as school superintendent, “We’ll take care of you, if you’ll take care of us.”
He also recalled a story from a Rotary club member who was new in town who said where he came from if a business was successful, the other business owners looked down on that success, but in Chelsea, when a business succeeds, the other business owners celebrate that success.
Killips gave kudos to Bob Pierce, executive director of the chamber saying, “Bob Pierce and the Chamber Board is a unique group that is always trying to improve Chelsea.”
And, fittingly, Killips put in a plug for the Sunday, Dec. 9 open house for the hospital, which takes place from noon-5 p.m., and encouraged everyone to take a tour of the new facility.
Killips said he was keeping his acceptance speech short — so everyone could get home to watch the Tigers play in the World Series.