Aurora's Annual Awards Gala - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Aurora's Annual Awards Gala

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They build homes, treat patients, and educate youth, and while some jobs may go unmentioned, they are not unnoticed. On Thursday, more than 230 people attended the Aurora Area Chamber and Development Corp. annual banquet, held at Aurora Middle School, and they honored several members of their community.

The annual banquet is held to congratulate everyone involved in the community, but each year a few members stand out. Those honored on Thursday evening have all contributed to the local economy, housing market, agriculture or education.

AACD Executive Director Christian Evans said the wide range of awards shows the many important pieces that make up their community.

"Every wheel has spokes and those spokes are all important. Health care is one, education is another one, recreation, and jobs; if one of those spokes is weak, the wheel is weak. So we want to make sure all of those spokes continue to have great leaders and grow throughout time," Evans said.

Audrey Vaught, one of the seven leaders surprised to be honored, said she's helped tackle some major funding issues. Vaught was the recipient of the 2012 AACD Member of the Year award. She has helped tackle tough issues and helped champion the sustainable funding model for the AACD.

"We had struggled a little bit with funding and it's something we've worked on for a number of years and we're seeing it come together," Vaught said.

Vaught said some of their 2013 goals include pairing Aurora's volunteers with mentors and a focus on business retention and expansion.

Seven awards were presented to the following:

2012 Educator of the Year Award                              Marilyn Vrana                                   

2012 Community Service Award                                Megan Vetter

2012 AACD Member Award                                        Audrey Vaught

2012 Agriculture Award                                             Bill Hunter

2012 Gold Award                                                       Leach Insurance

2012 Entrepreneur Award                                         Matt Thomas-Dana Point Development

2012 Health Care Award                                           Dr. John Wilcox

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