Culver Chamber honors Munroe, Sellers, firemen

The Culver Chamber of Commerce packed the Lakehouse Grille on Lake Shore Drive with its annual awards banquet, which as in years past honored three individuals or organizations in the Culver area.

Named Volunteer of the Year was Ginny Bess Munroe, whom Brockey described as a local graduate of Culver Girls Academy who received her bachelors of art degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and master’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame. Munroe worked at Macmillan Publishing and then Pearson Publishing (in Indianapolis) as a development editor, managing editor, and production director, said Brockey. She has owned her own company, Deadline Driven Publishing, since 2001, and edits consumer books, higher education books, and online college courses.

"Ginny’s volunteering runs deep throughout this community," said Brockey, noting Munroe serves on Culver’s town council and Second Century Committee, a subcommittee of the Chamber of Commerce, besides being a member of Kiwanis and Tri Kappa since 2006. She also currently chairs the Culver Boys & Girls Club board, whose board she's served on since 2005. She also recently joined the Marshall County Community Foundation as a board member and is a founding member of LIFT (Leading Inspirational Friendship Together), which helps women in the Culver area through mentoring, some financial aid, and all of the resources they as a group of women can bring to an individual.

"Ginny has been an inspiration to many throughout this community as she is truly a leader by example," said Brockey. "She is not only kind, giving, and involved, but also fair. She is the person you want to serve on your committee or board, and know that she will give 110 percent and follow through."

Munroe, in accepting the award, thanked not only the Chamber and the community as a whole, but her parents, sisters, and husband Grant, who she said she drafts "into everything I do."

"They're my volunteers of the year," she said, adding that husband Grant especially assists and is "always working behind the scenes. I love you, Grant!"

Tony Sellers of Sellers Services was named Business Person of the Year. Brockey explained Sellers had been a union laborer taking night school classes to study landscaping prior to 1998, when he acquired four small lawns to tend, from a friend of his fathers. The next 13 years, she said, were "a flurry of activity and growth" which saw sales revenue increases of 25 percent in some years. Sellers Services hit the $1 million mark in 2008, after just 10 years in business, and the company now employs up to 20 people during the peak summer season and provides services to close to 300 clients.

Sellers Services was also featured in Green Industry Pro Magazine and gives back thousands of dollars to the community by maintaining little league diamonds free of charge, Town of Culver entrance signs, planting trees for the elementary school, teaching in the Junior Achievement program, and donating to Boys and Girls Club. Sellers himself serves on the Chamber board and will be president for the next two years, starting Jan. 1.

"Tony Sellers has been an active, vital member of this community since his return in 1998," Brockey said, "and there is no doubt he knows what it takes to take a business to the next level, including a hands-on approach with his business that allows him to cultivate respect from his employees, customers, and community.

"I personally know the next two years the Chamber will flourish under his presidency."

Sellers, accepting the award, said the presidency will be "a tough role to fill, to take over for Dawn."

He thanked the company's clients as well as his father and sister, and particularly his children.

"They're the backbone. I don't get the opportunity to thank them very often. If not for them, I wouldn't be where I am.

"It's a great community," he added. "I grew up here and it's great to get to give back."

The Culver Union Township Volunteer Fire Department was the recipient of the Chamber's Lifetime Achievement award.

Established in 1903 as a bucket brigade with only 14 men and some buckets, the department currently serves all the residents of Culver and Union Township, as well as the surrounding areas, in the event mutual aid is needed. Today there are six trucks, two boats, and one hovercraft at the department's disposal, and 21 volunteer members, ranging in age from 18, to "70-something," are on the force.
Brockey listed "only a few" of the many community endeavors local firemen volunteer for, including the annual Fireman’s Festival, Halloween Haunted House, and golf outings.

"This organization’s dedication, compassion -- not to mention alertness in the middle of the night -- has made it an easily agreed-upon choice to be the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement award," Brockey concluded, "for 110 years of outstanding, vital, and valuable incredibly valuable service to this community."

Thanking the Chamber for the award, Grover said Culver is fortunate to "have a great group of guys (on the department); they're very dedicated (and) try to help with community service as much as we can. We like to help people, and we're proud of what we do. I'm proud of this group of guys."

In closing the event, Brockey said the Chamber "takes a lot of pride in trying to cultivate great relationships. We appreciate and notice what people do."

She also said she enjoyed being Chamber president for the past two years, and discussed some of the "exciting things" coming up in 2013, including a hoped-for ice fishing tournament in February and a follow-up to this year's Culver Wine Fest.