TROY — The Troy Area Chamber of Commerce tapped John A. Wannemacher as the 2017 Distinguished Citizen at the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual recognition banquet on Thursday evening.
Wannemacher, a retired attorney, was nominated by Miami County Park District Executive Director Scott Myers who highlighted Wannemacher’s service as a president of the park commission since 1975. Wannemacher joined the park commission in 1973.
“Under his vision, the park district has grown from 5 acres and no budget to 15 parks, more than 2,100 acres, and six successful levy campaigns,” Myers said. “The park district has become a community leader in Miami County under his leadership. John has been involved and been a leader in numerous community organizations. He is held in high regard for his leadership and community mindedness. For him, it is about giving back to the community because that is what should be done.”
Wannemacher shared how he was part of many of the park district’s acquisitions and growth over his four decades of service on the board.
He shared a story of visiting the Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary’s boardwalk and seeing three men in wheelchairs who enjoyed their time in the woods on wheels.
“They were telling me about their experience on the boardwalk and one of the young men looked at me in the eyes and said, ‘You know, this is the first time I’ve ever been in the woods,” he shared. “You know that kind of gets me. Of all the time, effort and money spent building that boardwalk was well worth it. Since that time, we’ve had a lot of people in wheelchairs that are using the boardwalk.”
Wannemacher thanked the chamber, his family, local supporters who helped start the park board and the voters who support the Miami County Park District throughout the years. The Miami County Park District named a nature reserve after Wannemacher in honor of his service as a board member and his leadership as president on the board since 1975. Wannemacher is married to his wife Sally, has three children and several grandchilren.
OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARD
Myra Sanders was tapped as the 2017 “Outstanding Educator” of the Year.
Sanders is in her 16th year of teaching, having taught for five years in Kettering and 11 years with the Troy City Schools. Currently, teaching first grade at Concord Elementary School.
While teaching at Concord, Sanders started the Reading Buddies program in 2008. The program pairs a Troy High School student with a first grader to read once a week, each week, during the school year.
Sanders said she was completely shocked, honored and then humbled as the recipient of the annual award.
“I know there are so many teachers who I have the privilege of working with each and every day who are absolutely deserving of this award as well. They work very hard each day to make a difference in the lives of their students so I want to sincerely thank the chamber for selecting me for this honor,” Sanders said.
Myra started the program when her son Brad — then a student at Troy High School — was looking for a way to fulfill a volunteer service project. Sanders came up with the idea of having her son and some of his friends come to her classroom and read with her students on a one-on-one basis.
That first year, Sanders didn’t have enough volunteers to assign a high school student to each of her first graders. The program has grown every year since then, however, and now not only does Sanders have enough high school students for all of her students, but there are enough volunteers for all five of Concord’s first-grade classrooms.
Dan Hake, principal of Concord School said, “Myra Sanders is an educator who always focuses on what is best for kids. She is dedicated to student success through providing students multiple pathways of learning, creating a positive learning community, and having open educational dialogue with families. Mrs. Sanders understands the importance of educating the whole child and that the social and emotional development is just as important as the academic success. We are lucky to have Mrs. Sanders on Concord’s Team.”
Each year since 1968, the award has been given to an educator that is an excellent representative of the teaching profession, makes the learning of meaningful skills a positive experience, relates professionally with students, parents, community members and demonstrates a wide variety of effective teaching skills.
Myra is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Troy. Following graduation from the Leadership Troy program, she joined the Teen Leadership Troy Committee.
Myra lives in Troy with her husband Greg Sanders and they have five children.
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