Peg Perego: BBB passes torch to businesses who exhibit ethics

Many companies make the news when they do something wrong. The Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Indiana on Wednesday honored them for doing the right thing.

Several hundred members of the business community attended the BBB’s ninth annual Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics & Student of Integrity scholarship luncheon at the Grand Wayne Convention Center.

Sue Ehinger, Parkview Health’s chief experience officer and recipient last year of the Individual of Integrity Award, was a presenter during the ceremony. “Wisdom is knowing the right path to take. Integrity is taking that path,” she said.

Those receiving awards Wednesday exhibited that and other characters. This year’s recipients were:

Individual of Integrity

•Jim Vann, chairman of Rea Magnet Wire. He and his wife, Lee, whom he credited during his recipient’s speech, co-founded a center to teach students ethics. He co-chaired the Legacy Fort Wayne committee, which made recommendations to Mayor Tom Henry about how to use nearly $80 million generated from the old City Light lease.

“Most cities are like the Grand Canyon,” Vann told audience. “They look best from a distance, but Fort Wayne looks best up close.”

Nonprofit Award:

•Matthew 25 Health and Dental Clinic. The clinic provides free medical, dental, vision and hearing services to those without insurance or Medicare eligibility. Dr. Thomas Gutwein, board chairman, explained that a recent federal change no longer allows the clinic to accept donated leftover medicine. It would save costs to the clinic but it will follow the law.

For-profit award

•Hartman Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning. Founded in January 1963, the company must work with a variety of manufacturers and make good on problems they caused or with its own installations. Greg Hartman said, “It’s never easy to swallow your mistake” but the business must make good.

•E. Harper and Son Funeral Home. Open since January 1889, the business says integrity is not an option but a requirement.

•Stucky Brothers. Established in 1914 by three brothers, the appliance and electronics business follows the qualities of trust, fairness, mutual support and compassion in dealing with customers, said Jim Benninghoff, president.

•Peg Perego. The Perego family is committed to its employees, who make ride-on toys in Fort Wayne and baby strollers in Italy.

Scholarship recipients

For the first time, two college students were among the four receiving $2,000 scholarships for college based on a written essay and record of community service and school involvement.

•John Julien of Marian High School.

•Rachel Bertsch of Bluffton High School.

•Riley Bannon of Manchester University.

•Samuel Thompson of Huntington University.


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