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Chamber honors local business leaders

The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce recently honored several business leaders who contributed to their community, including a local banker who dedicated countless hours to area organizations and provided financing for numerous businesses and homeowners.

The chamber announced the winner of its annual Simon Award earlier this month, honoring Rick Anderson, who spent much of the past decade at Champaign Bank and the Peoples Savings Bank of Urbana. Anderson died earlier this year after a 27-month battle with cancer.

The award recognizes residents who improved the quality of life in Champaign County.

Along with serving in Vietnam, he managed Anderson’s Clothing Store for two decades before working at Citizens National Bank as senior vice president in charge of business development and lending. Anderson took a similar position at Champaign Bank in 2005, and joined the People’s Savings Bank of Urbana in 2010.

He also spent 16 years on the Mechanicsburg Exempted Village School board, and served as a 4-H adviser, president of the chamber board and clerk at Maple Grove Cemetery.

Mea Riser, Anderson’s daughter, said her father was a philanthropist who was known as a “gentleman banker.” Often he knew his customers personally and tried to handle their loans despite his additional duties with commercial loans.

She said she worked with her father briefly in the banking business.

“He was supposed to handle all of the commercial loans and I was supposed to handle all of the personal loans,” Riser said. “It was really hard for him to pass a customer off to me. He was just used to taking care of the client no matter what their needs were.”

The chamber also honored Steven and Betsy Bohl with the 2014 Volunteer of the Year award. The couple serve with numerous organizations throughout the county, including the Simon Kenton Pathfinders, the chamber, the Champaign Family YMCA and Urbana City Schools.

The chamber also recognized Clarence J. “Bud” and Joyce Brown, and the BrownRidge Foundation. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Spriggs Post 5451 and the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 31 recently combined resourced to buy and renovate the former Brown Publishing Building at 220 E. Court St. The chamber honored the Brown family, and those organizations, for preserving the site and providing funding to ensure it will continue to serve area residents in the future.

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