Chamber honors three longtime county institutions...as seen in the Herald Bulletin
Service, commitment and quality the hallmarks of success
By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
Noel Stroud, shop supervisor at American Playground, gives these soccer goals a final cleaning before they are shipped from their facility at 505 E. 31st St. in Anderson.
ANDERSON, Ind. — Three business and community organizations with a combined 225 years of commitment and staying power among them were honored at the annual Madison County Chamber of Commerce banquet Thursday night.
American Playground received an award for 100 years in business; Anderson Federation of Teachers, 75 years, and Community Hospital Anderson, 50 years.
Founded as American Playground Device Co. in 1911, American Playground quickly developed a reputation for building fine playground and swimming pool equipment. The company’s product list includes slides, merry-go-rounds and soccer goals.
“What can you say about a company that has survived everything an economy can throw at it — the highs and lows, the ebb and flow — and not only survive it but thrive in it for 100 years?” said Kyle Morey, president and CEO of the Madison County Chamber.
Peter O’Scanaill, who bought the company six years ago, takes no credit for American Playground’s success. He arrived as a consultant, liked the products and passion of the employees.
“These individuals bleed American Playground,” he said, referring to the company’s work force. I’m a businessman who saw an opportunity.”
Although not a business, the Anderson Federation of teachers has worked for 75 years to elevate the profession of teachers. Although the federation is a member of the chamber, AFT President Tom Forkner, said he was pleasantly surprised by the business group’s recognition.
“It takes a community to raise a child; and a school of happy, effective teachers to groom future leaders,” Morey said. “We are honored to recognize the Anderson Federation of Teachers for their hard work and desire to create a positive learning environment for students.”
The federation represents 422 certified teachers and about 113 custodians, maintenance workers, secretaries and nurses. It not only negotiates wages and benefits, Forkner said, but also helps advance teacher skills through continuing education programs, and has implemented a peer review process to evaluate teacher performance.
Community Hospital, which opened its doors in 1962, remains the only locally owned and operated hospital in the county.
In 1996, Community Anderson affiliated with Community Health Network in Indianapolis, providing patients with access to a comprehensive array of health care services through the network.
Community Hospital is a community servant-leader through and through,” Morey said. “Businesses, nonprofits and the community benefit greatly from such a partner in our midst.”
Bill VanNess, president and CEO, noted that the hospital was built by funds donated by individuals and organizations.
“We continue to feel fortunate that our community invested in us,” he said. “As we reflect on the past 50 years, we have seen many changes in the hospital, our community and in health care. But through it all, we have maintained our mission of providing high quality health care, and we look forward to a strong future.”