They were teachers and businessmen, farmwives and county officials.
|Al Green, recipient of the 2013 Male Citizen of the Year award, speaks to an audience during the annual Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce dinner. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
But Saturday night they all had one thing in common: their great contributions to the community.
The Bowling Green Chamber Commerce recognized these men and women at their annual Meeting Dinner and Awards, held in the Grand Ballroom of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.
2011 Male Citizen of the Year honoree Bob Blinn introduced this year’s winner, Al Green of A. A. Green Realty, noting his connection to the land from an early age: born and raised on a farm in Bowling Green, Green later became a teacher, and started his real estate business as a side interest.
Green and his wife, Blinn noted, have contributed tirelessly of their time and treasure to the city. The pair donate their talents and funds to more that 60 civic and service organizations; Green himself, among his many commitments, serves as director of the Bowling Green State University Foundation Board, and is a 35-year member of the Rotary Club.
“There’s hardly a facet of our community that hasn’t been touched by his generosity,” said Blinn.
“I’m totally wordless,” said Green, as he ascended the stage, flanked by his family.
“I didn’t realize I did so much until Bob” introduced me, he quipped.
Green noted the power of living in a community as tight-knit at Bowling Green.
“It’s kind of like ‘Cheers’, you know, where everybody knows your name.”
Becky Laabs, in introducing the 2013 Female Citizen of the year, noted how fitting it was that she, a former teacher, should be able to recognize Jodi Anderson, herself a teacher and the latest in a long line of teachers to be so honored.
|Jodi Anderson, recipient of the 2013 Female Citizen of the Year Award, addresses the audience.
Anderson, she noted, was born in eastern Ohio and came to Bowling Green to study at BGSU, where she met her husband. A 14-year veteran of the Bowling Green City Schools, Anderson earned her Master Teacher Certification, but has also been an integral part of the community, acting as liaison between the high school and the city and serving on the Bowling Green City Parks Board – indeed, she has been one of the most instrumental people in the planning and development of the forthcoming aquatics center at the City Park.
“Gosh, how’s she have time to teach?” joked Laabs.
“She is an incredible teacher, and an incredible colleague,” she said.
“To receive this from Becky reading such wonderful things, and to receive this at all, is such an honor,” said Anderson. “We just can’t think of not being involved in this community.”
“I just truly want you to know how much we love this community.”
Shirlee Bostdorff, this year’s winner of the Athena Award, was lauded by BG Schools Superintendent Ann McVey as “a wife, a daughter, a mother, a proud grandmother and a mentor and friend to many” who sees “volunteerism as a way of life.”
A life-long Wood County resident, Bostdorff “has never been one for the limelight,” working behind the scenes for the betterment of the community through such organizations as 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA), and through her former directorship of the Wood County Historical Center and Museum.
|Mike Sibberson, 2013 recipient of the Zeus Award, speaks during the annual Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce dinner.
“As a farm wife, promoting women’s involvement in agriculture is important to her,” said McVey, noting that in her youth Bostdorf herself was not allowed to join FFA because she was a girl.
Bostdorff tearfully accepted the award, stating briefly that “it has been quite an honor to receive this tonight.”
The 2013 Zeus Award went to longtime Wood County Auditor Mike Sibbersen, who was praised as “someone who values the voices of all his employees” by Richard Newlove, who received the award last year.
He noted Sibbersen’s conscientiousness, and his ability to create a comfortable work environment, as well as his work mentoring women in his department. Sibbersen, he further noted, is an active genealogist, works with the Toledo Museum of Art, and is chair of the Northwest Ohio County Auditor’s Association.
“I’m truly astonished,” said Sibbersen on the stage.
“What I do on a daily basis is what many of you do.”