2012-01-18 / Front Page

Sandusky Chamber announces awards

Three individuals, two businesses to be honored

Garry Biniecki Garry Biniecki When you see Sharon Danek, tell her congratulations.

The long-time employee of McKenzie Health System of Sandusky and local Lions Club member has been named Citizen of the Year by the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce.

The 66-year-old Sandusky resident will be one of thee people honored at the Citizen of the Year banquet March 10 at Woodland Hills Golf Club.

The others are Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki as Civic Samaritan of the Year, and Mark Orchard, owner-manager of Orchard Carpet Service, as Volunteer of the Year.

The Chamber will also honor Graff Chevrolet-Buick as Business of the Year, and present the Golden Hammer Award to McDonald’s Restaurant.

“It’s awesome,” said Danek, about the the recognition.

“I’m honored. It’s just starting to sink in.”

Danek, the Public Relations Lead at McKenzie, is very involved in fundraising for the hospital, including the annual benefit raffle. She is also the liaison with the hospital auxiliary, and coordinates the community education and wellness pro- grams.

Sharon Danek Sharon Danek Danek has been a Lions Club member since 1993, and has served as chairperson of the club’s Toys for Tots drive since the late 1990s. She is a past club president and current secretary. She also serves on the Sanilac County Community Foundation, the Silver Lining Awards Committee and the Project Connect Committee.

Orchard 47, is being honored for his work with the Sanilac County Hockey Association, and involvement in Chamber activities.

He’s been active with the hockey group since it started about 10 or 11 years ago. He serves as vice president and sits on the board of directors.

This is the second consecutive year that someone from the association has been named Volunteer of the Year. In 2011, association President Steve Hutchinson won the award.

Mark Orchard Mark Orchard “I think its...a testament to the hockey association,” said Orchard, which has a group of volunteers who pitch in to operate the ice rink, the hockey programs and open skates.

The Chamber is honoring the sheriff for re-instating the jail work crew, which provides free labor for communities and non-profit organizations. Bringing back the crew was one of Biniecki’s first actions after being elected sheriff in Nov. 2008. Prisoners have done everything from peeling apples for a church group’s apple pie project to putting up fences, picking up trash and cleaning streets.

Re-instatning the work crew was “the one true thing I could do to give back to the communities” whose tax dollars house and feed prisoners in the jail, said the sheriff.

“We estimate in the last two years we’ve saved close to one hundred thousand dollars in labor costs to communities and non-profit organizations in the county.”

The sheriff is also being recognized for providing police services at Chamber events.

Graff Chevrolet is being honored for its promotions that benefit the community, as well as for its participation in Chamber projects.

The car dealership launched sales promotions in 2011 that raised approximately $9,800 for breast cancer awareness programs at McKenzie Health System, $4,500 to help the Sandusky VFW Post purchase a hood for the kitchen oven in its new building, and around $2,700 for local Little League programs. Graff also sponsored a golf tournament to benefit the United Way.

“We’ve made our motto, ‘giving back to the community,’” said Graff sales manager Tom Patten. “We can’t survive (in our business) without the community. We’ve worked hard at it, volunteering our time.”

The Golden Hammer Award is given to businesses that have made exceptional improvement.

McDonald’s changed its drive-thru from single lane to double lane, gave a facelift to the exterior of the building, and remodeled the lobby, playplace and bathrooms.

The project took about two months to complete last November and December.

It was done “for the customers,” said restaurant manager Rich Simmons.

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