Longtime community, business leader receives highest honor from Springfield chamber

Andy Bell speaks during a video for the Chamber of Greater Springfield. Contributed

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Andy Bell speaks during a video for the Chamber of Greater Springfield. Contributed

A longtime community leader and business person who has helped raise millions of dollars for local projects and institutions has received this year’s top honor from the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

Andy Bell, who was once the president of a large Springfield-based insurance company, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Richard L. Kuss Lifetime Community Achievement Award.

It is a top honor by the chamber that is presented during its annual meeting, which will be held virtually today. The award is named after a local businessman who was known for his philanthropy. It was first established in 2007 before Kuss’ death in 2012.

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Bell considered Kuss a mentor and remembered his influence during a prerecorded video that will be played during the chamber’s annual meeting.

Bell said that Kuss inspired a new generation to be leaders focused on others and not just themselves.

That kind of dedication and selflessness is why Bell, who is in his 70s, was selected for the award this year, according chamber executives. They say Bell has been instrumental in efforts over the decades that have raised millions to fund programs and initiatives in the community.

“If there was an all star team in Springfield, Clark County over the past 50 years, (Bell) would be one of the captains of that team,” said Mike McDorman, President and CEO of the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

“(Bell) is one of those leaders who invested in the next generation. He has supported many in this community that are in leadership positions today and continues to do that,” McDorman added.

Bell is the former president of the former Consolidated Insurance before it became Brower Insurance. A native of the Springfield area, he has invested greatly in the area over a number of years.

Bell has been a member of a number of local community as well as higher education boards as well as served as the president for the Springfield Rotary Club.

Some of Bell’s fundraising efforts were geared towards helping local children with disabilities, McDorman said. In addition to that, Bell has used his influence to raise millions for institutions such as the Springfield Foundation, Clark State College and the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC).

Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Chamber of Greater Springfield, said Bell played a large part in helping the CIC raise over $4 million for its Expand 2024 Campaign.

The amount raised exceeded expectations especially amid the coronavirus pandemic as a majority of those efforts were done through virtual means, Bell said in the chamber video.

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“I am a townie. I was born and raised here and have lived here all but eight years of my life, when I was in college and in the service. I have seen many changes, some good, some not so good. But I have never regretted the decision to make Springfield my family’s home,” Bell said.

“Our community is of the size where you can develop personal relationships where most dealings are with people you know and trust. Where it is easy to get involved and where one can make a difference,” he added.

McDorman said that though Bell was diagnosed with parkinson’s disease several years ago, he continues to remain active in the community and is still involved in major initiatives in the area.

The chamber’s annual meeting will start at 3 p.m. and will be streamed live on Facebook.

Chamber of Greater Springfield 2021 Honorees

Business of the Year: Assurant

Small Business of the Year: NCF Savings Bank

Community Impact Award: Second Harvest Food Bank

Best Restaurant/Retailer of the Year: Cecil and Lime

Big Dreamer Banner: Dale Henry

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