Published Jan. 25, 2008

The Berne Chamber of Commerce recognized a handful of community icons at its annual celebration dinner Tuesday evening at Swiss Village.

The Chamber presented a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award to Art and Gloria Muselman; the Business of the Year Award to Habegger Ace; and a 100-year anniversary recognition to Sprunger Shoes.

Presenting the award to the Muselmans, who were represented by their children Roger Muselman and Karen Muselman Thomas, was Swiss Village executive director Daryl Martin.

This award is more than a Citizen of the Year Award; it is more than a Citizen of the Decade Award. Tonight we are conferring this award in appreciation and with gratitude for the lifetime work and service of Art and Gloria, said Martin. Their dedication to this community's welfare embodies the spirit and work that is intended to be recognized by this award. In fact Art and Gloria dignify the Lifetime Achievement Award as few other individuals could.

As we confer this award posthumously, we want to recognize Art and Gloria's contributions to the spiritual, civic, educational, philanthropic and business life of this community. We are a better people, an enriched community with a higher quality of life because of the many and varied contributions that Art and Gloria made during their lifetimes. They invested heart, intellect, time, money and love into this community with generosity and no expectation of recognition. That they expected no recognition was the quiet yet powerful beauty about Art's and Gloria's generosity.

The Chamber presented its Business of the Year Award to Mike, Brian and Alan Habegger of Habegger Ace, a 52-year old business started by Sam and Charlie Habegger in 1956.

A detailed history of the operation, which included two fires that destroyed the building of operation, but never slowed the growth and commitment of the local businessmen, was given before the presentation of the award. Habegger Ace now employs more than two dozen, and recently expanded their operation to full service post in neighboring Bluffton.

Kenyon Sprunger, of Sprunger Shoes in Berne, was presented a plaque to honor his business and its 100th anniversary. The special recognition honored the Sprunger family for its long history with the business on Main Street in downtown Berne.

The Chamber also enlarged its Board of Directors Tuesday night by six members. Joining the Board are John Wanner, executive director of Blackford, Grant, Jay, Adams and Wells counties Youth for Christ; Chris Frauhiger, controller at Smith Brothers of Berne; Nancy Scott, owner of Masterpiece Quilting; Karla Lipscomb, CPA at Honegger Ringger; Neil Habegger, account executive at WZBD; and Floyd Liechty, salesman with Smith Brothers of Berne.