Thrive salutes change makers

Thrive Allen County celebrated businesses, volunteers and organizations that helped improve the community over the past year. The annual awards banquet brought about 350 guests.



November 20, 2023 - 3:54 PM

Thrive Allen County recognized the board of Iola Industries with the Donna Talkington Award for Community Excellence at Friday’s banquet. From left, John McRae, Jerry Skidmore, Mary Kay Heard, Susan Lynn, Jim Gilpin, Job Springer and Georgia Masterson, last year’s winner who presented the award. Photo by Tim Stauffer / Iola Register

In the midst of busy lives, we can forget how much local do-gooders improve our community. Doctors heal the sick, teachers help children learn to read, the trails stay cleared of brush; what’s the big deal? It’s always been like this.

Lisse Regehr, Thrive Allen County CEO.Photo by Tim Stauffer / Iola Register

Thrive Allen County’s banquet Friday night, their 16th in the non-profit’s history, sought to recognize the change makers, those who perform the ordinary miracles that seek to make Allen County a better place to live and work. Around 350 guests packed into the Allen Community College gymnasium to join in on the fun.

But the host also deserves some recognition. A decade ago, Thrive Allen County had 4.5 positions and celebrated the completion of the Southwind Rail Trail at its annual banquet. Thrive now employs 32 people, has a budget of $4.8 million and was critical to the creation of Lehigh Portland State Park. Over the past five years, noted CEO Lisse Regehr, Thrive has “assisted 25 entities, bringing in an additional $5.2 million to Allen County.” 

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