Dear Chamber Supporter:
 
I am glad Friday is here this week…I feel more exhausted than usual. I have not arrived home any night this week before 8:30. It makes for a very fatiguing week…but my long hours involved good things however. Much progress is being made on many fronts which takes the edge off long workdays. 
 
You remember last Friday was my birthday…my kids all surprised me by all showing up at our house Friday evening. We (I) was expecting a couple but I was surprised and thrilled to have everyone come (including all 8 grandkids) (pictures here). It was the first time the 2 new babies have been together. With the weather being so nice we decided to have a wiener roast…always a good way to spend a fall evening…sitting around a fire while the kids play.
 
Ottawa University Homecoming:
 
Last Saturday was OU Homecoming…there were a lot of alumni in town and on campus for the occasion. Causing the event to be even more festive was the ribbon cutting for the new stadium seating and press box (pictures here). It’s too bad the Braves couldn’t pull off a victory for their fans, but the press box is beautiful. There was a large group from the Class of 1969 at homecoming to celebrate their 50-year graduation reunion from the institution. One of the 50-year alums challenged his classmates to donate money to build a greenhouse on campus…together they raised over $300,000.00 to build a biology conservatory on university grounds. It will be very beneficial for not only raising campus landscaping but additionally for biology classes to study botany.
 
Also at halftime, our local hospital officially named the football field AdventistHealth and presented a nice check to the institution for the 10-year naming honor. This will be a strong partnership (full press release here) between 2 longstanding community organizations. In addition to the field naming rights, the agreement includes medical and a sports medicine partnership to provide a clinic and care for students and athletes. The clinic will be at 9th and Main in a good visible location. During the halftime festivities the University was officially awarded $300,000.00 from the Class of 1969 and $500,000.00 from AdventistHealth. Not a bad take in one game!!
 
Greece in 2-weeks:
 
Tuesday evening 55 of the 92 Greece travelers gathered to become more familiar with one another and also to learn more about the adventure on which we are about to embark (pictures here). We begin our travels in 2 weeks…on November 3 returning on November 13. It sounds to be a fantastic trip traveling with a lot of fun people. It is getting close enough now we are all getting excited for the voyage. Following the Greece departure travel meeting another 40 gathered to learn about next year’s travel destination, Provence and the French Riviera. Here is a link to the brochure describing the trip…Sherri will begin taking reservations for this adventure as soon as we get back from Greece. These trips are always fun, affordable and a safe way to travel and meet new friends. I hope you will consider traveling with the Chamber in 2020.
 
Revinylized Creations & Décor:
 
Sara Stauffer has discovered a fun and creative way to allow her to stay at home with her kids and earn a living at the same time. Two years ago she started her creative sign design business in her home…this morning she and her husband Matt hosted Chamber members (pictures here) in their new shop/garage which they built because of the fast-growing and expanding business. Sara does all sorts of parties and classes…from wedding showers to team-building exercises. The largest group she ever facilitated was 300 Ottawa University students. Here is Sara’s Facebook page…you can see some of her creations and read how fun her parties/classes are. Something I really appreciate about Sara is her willingness to participate in the life of the community…she is involved in the Ottawa Main Street Association as well as Chamber committees and serves on the Ottawa Memorial Auditorium board. Good job Sara (and Matt)!!  
 
Leadership Franklin County:
 
I spent Thursday morning with the 2019/20 Leadership Franklin County class…their topic for the day was Negative Leadership (pictures here). The objectives for the session were to define “negative leadership” and how it relates to class members’ personal leadership style and to learn about challenges facing local public safety officials. Their speaker for the morning session was Lieutenant Colonel Dave Young, the Director of Staff for the Kansas Air National Guard. He was one of the investigators of the Columbia Space Shuttle crash and talked with our Franklin County leaders about why or how leaders and those-in-charge get things wrong…explaining the culture of an organization and the ego of the leader tend to be the biggest culprits in causing bad/wrong decisions. Learning why we fail is important to do better going forward. The Colonel was a good speaker and about 20 members of the community took advantage of a notable speaker being in our community and joined the 15 Leadership candidates for the session.
 
Truck Raffle:
 
Our raffle to raise funds for Legacy Square continues to pick up steam…here is a picture of Charlie and Freddie Adamson in front of the grand prize. Charlie purchased enough tickets to give each of his employees a chance to win the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado…other employers have done similar things. A couple of our larger employers purchased 10 tickets and are putting all the employee’s names in a hat and drawing names…the winners of that contest each get one of the 10 raffle tickets. Here is a video Ryland and Sydney did to promote the contest. 
 
Of course it is still not too late to purchase a ticket(s)!! You can do so by following these links: single tickets here for $125.00 per ticket or 10 tickets here for $1,000.00. Only 1,000 tickets have been printed to be sold…this makes your odds pretty good to drive away in a brand new truck. Feeling lucky…buy a ticket today!
 
Just another update on Legacy Square…the first bridge is almost done (here is a picture). City crews are building the bridges which will be galvanized and then placed. We are grateful to them for helping out and making this community project just a little more complete. 
 
OHS Wall of Honor:
 
Tonight I will officially be inducted into the Ottawa High School Wall of Honor…being placed on the Wall of Honor is the greatest honor of my life. Last night was the banquet…here are a few pictures. Most of my family was present and will all be here tonight. For me this honor is shared with family members who have always supported and worked alongside me as well as all the community members with whom I’ve served and worked with over the last 40 years to make Ottawa a growing, thriving community. I am humbled by this award. I closed my remarks last evening with one of my favorite quotes from President Teddy Roosevelt…you can read the full quotation here. Bottom line…my respect and admiration go to those who actually get into the arena…dream the dreams…fight the battles…and make progress happen.
 
Thanks to all of you who support me…I love going to work every day to advocate for this community.
 
Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000
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