RIO GRANDE — Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel, better known as the former head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes from 2001 to 2010, gave the keynote speech Thursday during the 79th annual Gallia County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet.
Tressel, who coached the Buckeyes to the NCAA national championship at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., gave an inspirational talk that lasted just shy of 50 minutes. Despite the length, almost everyone in the packed house at the University of Rio Grande’s Davis University Center cafeteria hung on his every word.
The chamber also honored several businesses and volunteers from 2015. The 2015 River Recreation Festival Chair and Committee were recognized “for making the annual River Recreation Festival a success.”
Pat Tackett was honored as the Marianne Campbell Volunteer of the Year; the Emancipation Celebration Committee earned Committee of the Year laurels; Ohio Valley Bank took home the Community Involvement Award; JC’s Convenience Plus won the Beautification Award; Bossard Memorial Library earned the Sudden Impact Award; and 93.1 The Wolf/WJEH Joy 990 grabbed the Small Business Award.
This year’s Bud and Donna McGhee Community Service Award, the chamber’s most prestigious award that is kept secret each year until the night of the banquet, was bestowed upon Jessie Payne, of Rio Grande. Payne was honored for her “thousands of volunteer hours” at Holzer Health System, as well as her work on behalf of the Southern Ohio chapter of the NAACP, Gallia County Economic Development Association, Emancipation Celebration Committee and the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission.
More on Payne, all the award winners and Tressel will appear this weekend on www.mydailytribune.com and in the Sunday Times-Sentinel.
Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.