awards honors at annual dinner
Wanda English Burnett
Bill Cunningham, Mayor of the City of Lawrenceburg, was a welcome
guest at the Ripley County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting
and Awards Dinner held November 18 at the South Ripley Elementary
A full house heard some figures from Cunningham as he shared
some of the benefits the riverboat has bestowed on the area.
The Dearborn County Foundation has recently given over $2M to
charitable and non-profits. Over $50M has been given to a surrounding
10-county area in the past five years. Ripley County has reaped
the benefits of that sharing to the tune of $9M.
Mayor Cunningham complimented Dee Dee Benkie, who was in the
audience. He said she is a wonderful advocate for Ripley County.
Benkie is on the board for the Dearborn County Foundation as
the representative for the Governors office.
The Mayor assured they have all intentions to continue
this (sharing) program. He said, As long as we have
this money - youll have this money.
He talked about the importance of keeping a vigilant watch on
the money since the State would love to get it.
The benefit from revenue sharing to Dearborn and surrounding
counties is imperative to the areas economic future.
Barry Lauber, president of the chamber, thanked Cunningham for
sharing revenue with Ripley County. He said Ripley County is
working with three businesses right now because of the incentive
package from the City of Lawrenceburg.
Its been an honor to share the money, Cunningham
The annual meeting marked the 18th anniversary for the Ripley
County Chamber of Commerce.
Cathy May, co-chair of the event, conducted the award presentations.
Each person was given a plaque in honor of their service.
Business Person of the Year
The 2010 Business Person of the Year award went to Jerry Gilpin
May introduced Gilpin saying he was born in Milan and started
learning the greenhouse trade at age 15.
In 1978 he purchased Hitz Greenhouse in Versailles. In 1984
he modernized the operation and changed the name to House and
Garden Floral Center. He purchased Hill Monuments in 1985 and
10 years later started M&N Music, a concert promotions business.
In 2005, Gilpin added the screen printing and embroidery business.
Gilpin is very community oriented and has served on the county
council, the sheriffs merit board, Versailles and Ripley
County chambers, and the Versailles Volunteer Fire Department.
He has been a member of the Versailles Lions Club for 30 years
where he has worked hard to promote Pumpkin Show events.
Married to Natalie Gilpin, he has four children, Bryan, Staci,
John and Olivia.
Citizen of the Year
Anita Fledderman was selected as Ripley Countys Citizen
of the Year.
Fledderman serves as the current Sunman Chamber of Commerce
President and as chairperson for the Ripley County Community
Foundation Marketing Committee. She also organizes and oversees
the Sunman Wine Festival and serves as the co-chair of the Sunman
She also has time to be an active member of the St. Nicholas
Church, where she has served on several committees and organizes
their annual golf outing.
Fledderman has been working for Enhanced Telecommunications
since 1999 as the Marketing Manager.
Anita has been married to Greg Fledderman for 16 years and is
a life-long resident of Sunman.
In her spare time, Fledderman enjoys getting together with friends
and family, competing in fantasy sports leagues and rooting
on the Bengals and IU Basketball.
And I personally know she is just a really nice person,
Educator of the Year
Phyllis Hull, third grade teacher at South Ripley Elementary
School for 28 years, was announced as the Educator of the Year.
She graduated from South Ripley High School, attended Marion
College, and continued her education completing her Masters
Degree in Education from Indiana University.
Hull is a member of the Hopewell Baptist Church where she is
described as being passionate about being involved
in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.
May told the crowd, Phyllis has touched many lives by
her kindness, her commitment to her students, her family, father,
Wayne, brothers and a sister and her many friends. She
said that Hull takes the opportunity every day to show love
and compassion to children. She sets a wonderful example
of what giving of ones self is all about, May concluded.
The three accepting the awards all told the crowd they were
initially shocked or surprised that
they had been chosen. Fledderman said, I am so very, very,
Gilpin noted, This was a surprise. He said he is
still growing his business and noted his son, Bryan, would probably
be taking the reigns in a few years.
Hull thanked everyone and said she was speechless. She regained
her composure and accepted the award on behalf of her co-workers,
who she said does the same thing as she does everyday. She also
thanked her family in attendance, many coming from a long distance
to be with her for the special evening.
Chamber President Lauber conducted a short business session
to nominate and elect directors for 2011-2013. They include,
Lauber of Osgood, Bonnie Jeffries, Versailles; David Baugh,
Versailles; Lorie Taylor, Holton; and Justin Smith, Milan.
The Rolling Pin catered the meal for the evening and the silent
auction was a big hit. The chamber was pleased with the number
of items that area businesses had donated and the amount of
money and interest they generated. Lorie Taylor headed up the
ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTOS
Mayor Bill Cunningham, pictured below, was the keynote
speaker at the Ripley County Chamber of Commerce Annual
Meeting and Dinner held November 18 at Versailles. Pictured
above: Cathy May, left, co-chaired the event and honored
(from left) Phyllis Hull as Educator of the Year; Jerry
Gilpin as Business Person of the Year; and Anita Fledderman
as Citizen of the Year; Chamber President Barry Lauber,
presided over the event.