2010 Focus Awards

Thursday, November 4, 2010
Vickie Mace

The 2010 Focus Awards were recently announced. Below is a list of this year's recipients:

Daniel Harris Award

Mace earns top honor

For 23 years, when it comes to flowers, Vickie Mace has been a staple in Clay County.

In 1987, Mace opened Sugar N Spice.

"I started in the rear of what was the old Terre Haute Gas Building on the corner of State Road 59 and United States 40, where the little park is now, next to Bedwell Tire," Mace said. "About two years later, I bought the building where we are now."

Through her tireless efforts, Mace was named the 2010 Focus Awards Daniel Harris recipient.

When she learned she was to receive the award, Mace was in the middle of a very busy day.

"I guess it was a delayed reaction," Mace said, "but after I got used to the idea, I liked it. But, then I kept thinking, 'Why me?

"I haven't really been doing as much in the community like I used too.'"

When she's not spending time with her grandson, the lifelong Clay County resident, however, is very active within the community.

Mace is a member of the Clay County Historical Society. In addition, she is a board member for the Bethel United Methodist Church, a lay delegate to the United Methodist Church annual conference, and a Clay Community Theatre board member.

Also, for 12 years now, Mace has served on the Selective Service Board.

She is also a member of the Clay County Chamber of Commerce and past board member and officer of the organization.

She also was a board member for the Clay Civic Memorial Foundation, served one year on the Clay County Community Foundation and served on the Clay County Redevelopment Commission for four years.

In addition, Mace is a member of the Historic Landmarks Foundation and the Indiana National Road Association.

For Mace, being named the Daniel Harris Award winner is special as she has been involved with the awards banquet since its inception.

"I have furnished flowers for all of the events," she said. "I realize the importance of what this award does represent.

"It is a big honor. I think that the only thing that bothers me a little is that it's called a 'lifetime achievement' award. I hope my lifetime is not over."

In addition to being named this year's Daniel Harris recipient, Mace has also won the Commercial Award and the Beautification Award twice (once for herself and the other time through the Brazil Business women of Vision).

Typically shying away from the "limelight," Mace said she is humbled by receiving the award.

"I never even thought about being considered for the award this year," she said. "Yes, I was surprised."

Industrial Award

PDF, Inc.

PDF, Inc., honored to receive award

In 1994, Ken Maurer established Process Development and Fabrication, also known as PDF, Inc.

The privately owned company and its president was recently recognized by residents of Clay County as an industrial leader after being selected the 2010 Focus Award winner in the Industrial/Commercial/Agricultural category.

PDF Plant Manager Jason Maurer said he was pleased the business was noticed.

"It's nice to be recognized for your service to the community and what you're doing for the community," he said.

The company, located at 10102 N. Murphy Ave., Brazil, currently employees approximately 100 associates.

It is a specialty design and fabrication manufacturing facility producing parts as well as special OEM machinery and equipment.

It focuses on structural steel for different types of buildings, including schools, churches, hotels, parking garages and more.

Products are shipped throughout the United States in addition to 15 other countries worldwide. Jason Maurer also said the company has been active in the community, especially in various youth leagues. He said the company sponsored a soccer team in the YMCA of Clay County league earlier this year.

He said the company also donates many items to county high school athletic programs.

"We're excited," Jason said.

"It's an honor to receive an award like this."

Education Award

Mary Yelton

Yelton rewarded for focus on education

Since she was a child, Mary Yelton said she has been involved in education.

Her efforts have been recognized as Yelton was recently named the 2010 Focus Awards Education recipient.

"Both my mother and maternal grandmother were teachers, and although my father was an independent pharmacist, I will never forget the hours he would spend passionately encouraging young people who came in to the soda fountain to pursue post-secondary education and training," Yelton said. "It was really his theme song."

Yelton has lived in Clay County since she was 4. Her great-grandparents owned a farm in Bowling Green. Her father owned and operated two different drug stores.

She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in elementary education.

While her husband Ernie attended law school, she taught in Indianapolis.

The family returned to Clay County soon after and she taught at Forest Park Elementary.

After her children were born, she taught for two years at Meridian Elementary before serving as Title 1 coordinator for one year.

In 2002, she began serving as the prevention coordinator for the CAPE grant.

She currently serves as Coordinator for Linking Education to Adults, Adolescents and Preschoolers (LEAAP).

"The focus at the LEAAP Center is to prepare children to be successful in school, to provide opportunities for parents and nontraditional students to improve their education and to make post-secondary education more accessible to our citizens," Yelton said.

Upon learning she was this year's Education recipient, Yelton said she was, "truly shocked."

"There are so many individuals in Clay County more deserving of this award," Yelton said. "It truly takes a village to raise a child and I would add to educate our citizens of all ages.

"Receiving this award means to me that a whole lot of people really deserve the credit."

Non-Profit Award

Jenni Chamberlain

Chamberlain humbled to be nominated for award

In 2002, lifelong Brazil resident Jenni Chamberlain started Serving on the Streets (S.O.S.) with the mission of providing a weekly sanctuary for children with less-than-ideal homes.

Since then, the ministry has grown to the point it is currently working on rehabilitating a new and larger location -- the old Brazil Junior High -- which will also serve as a community center.

The efforts have most recently culminated in Chamberlain, the ministry's executive director, winning the Clay County Chamber of Commerce Focus Award for Non-Profits.

"It's an honor that someone nominated me," Chamberlain said. "But this isn't all about me, it is really a great recognition of the effort the great team here at S.O.S. has done."

While the children are a main focus of the ministry, S.O.S. is also renovating a local home to turn into a transition house to help single mothers adjust to the daily ins and outs of adult life.

In addition to the services she provides with S.O.S., Chamberlain also contributes to the community as a part of the local chapter of the Salvation Army.

Despite whispers and rumors within the community about the organization's goals, Chamberlain continues to push to make S.O.S. one of the most beneficial ministries in the area.

"We do all we can to help the children in our community as much as possible," she said. "It is surprising to win this award, but it is a great honor that the community is seeing our organization and all our volunteers in a good light."

Beautification Award

The Emmert Group

Emmert Group continues to develop areas within county

For more than 40 years, the Emmert family has provided housing, jobs and helped the tax base while developing more than 300 building sites and constructed more than 300 apartments throughout Clay County, including Colony Acres, Mattox Manor, Charles B. Hall Street, Deer Creel, Chateau Villa, Franklin Courts, Southgate and The Landings.

What began in 1969 with Sam and Joyce Emmert continues today with their children Brad Emmert and daughter Kim Emmert O'Dell and her husband Steven.

"Clay County and Brazil has been good to us and I feel our family has been good for the progress of Clay County and Brazil," Joyce Emmert said. "Our children Brad, Kim and son-in-law Steven continue to provide growth with modern construction."

Emmert said The Southgate and Landings apartments, the Craftsman Style homes at The Reserve, the Storage Depot on South Franklin St., the Emmert Real Estate Office building on West National Ave., are all very modern and have helped attract businesses and homeowners to the local community.

Also, the Emmerts had the foresight to see changes in the construction industry and started Timberland Wood Components Manufacturing Company, which created approximately 50 new jobs in Clay County the past seven years.

"Brazil City and Clay County have made it possible for us to live and work in a community we are very proud to call home," Joyce said. "We feel blessed to be a part of this community."

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