Kent Area Chamber honors businesses, people for improving city

By Kyle McDonald | Staff Writer Published:

Woody's owner Paul Braden was honored with the W.W. Reed Kent Medal for Public Service, the highest honor conferred by the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, Thursday at the Tree City Awards.

Since its 1972 founding, Woodsy's has seen continual growth, while Braden has consistently served the community and organizations through his help with the Kent Heritage Festival, Standing Rock Cultural Arts, Theodore Roosevelt High School athletics and more.

"In the past 40 years, Paul has been an incredible inspiration to this community," said Michelle Hartman while presenting the award to a crowd of 150 at Laziza in downtown Kent. "He has taken his passion for music and shared this passion with everything and everyone he touches ... His volunteer efforts in Kent do not go unnoticed, and Kent is a better place because of these efforts."

Since 1942, 54 Public Service Awards have been conferred by the chamber.

"Wow," Braden said. "I'm humbled by being in this esteemed group and winning this award."

Several other Kent businesses were honored Thursday for their efforts to improve Kent.

Fairmount Properties, Laziza and Record Publishing Company each received Tree City Awards for their investment in bringing jobs to Kent.

IMMY Awards, which are granted to businesses that create economic retention, reinvestment and new facilities, were granted to Baked in The Village Cafe owner Andrea Berry for her efforts to reestablish The Backerei under a new name in a new location, Four Seasons Trophies for persisting to stay in Kent with a new location after 30 years at DePeyster and East Main streets and the Kent Historical Society for its re-purposing of the Clapp-Woodward House at 237 E. Main St. into a museum dedicated to preserving Kent's past.

William Perfect, of Perfect Construction, received the Small Business Person of the Year Award, for his dedication to his employees and clients.

Two individuals also were recognized for the work they've put forth to help further Kent's progress. Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith was recognized by Mayor Jerry Fiala with a key to the city for his work to spur growth in Kent, and former KACC president Bill Griffith received the Bright Star Award, conferred by the chamber to one of its members for dedicated behind the scenes work.

KACC President Paul Organ led off the event by highlighting Kent's progress and encouraging the community to keep working together to better the city.

"We are locked and loaded. We can aim higher than where we've gotten so far. We can shoot farther than we have shot so far, and I think we're going to do it together," Organ said.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1127 or kmcdonald@recordpub.com.

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