fun pianos

“Denim and Diamonds” is the Ripley County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner theme (please see box).

Executive director Amy Thomas says the theme is “something my committee came up with.” For attire, they are “encouraging jeans, cowboy boots and, of course, diamonds for the women.”

So the dinner menu features great country food: roast beef, barbecue chicken, green beans, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy and assorted desserts.

Three persons will be recognized at the event.

Shawn Negangard has been named Citizen of the Year. The Osgood resident, who died Oct. 6, will be honored posthumously. According to Thomas, “He did all kinds of stuff.” The 65-year-old graduated from Ohio State University in 1976, then received a nursing home administration license and began his career at Manderley Health Care Center, Osgood, working every aspect of the nursing home industry until he became administrator.

The 1972 Jac-Cen-Del High School graduate was an Osgood Volunteer Fire Department member for over 40 years, holding the roles of chief, assistant chief, captain, fire prevention officer and board director. Negangard was a founding member of Task Unit 1, a volunteer group that responded to medical emergencies and vehicle extrications, and spent over 25 years helping others. The Osgood Jaycee and Buckeye Village board president also served on the Rescue 69 and Osgood town boards.

Coming up on retirement in early 2020, Mark Comer, Napoleon State Bank president and chief executive officer, is the chamber’s Business Person of the Year. The Osgood resident began his banking career in the Ripley County community in 1978 as the bank’s Holton branch manager, was appointed to the board of directors in 1990 and promoted to the top role in 2016. The business has six locations in Napoleon, Holton, Osgood, Greensburg (Westridge and Lincoln Street) and Westport.

The Educator of the Year is Milan High School science teacher Jessica Small Summers. The Air Force veteran holds a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

All chamber directors who will serve from 2020-22 will be applauded, too, according to the executive director.

Thomas is excited two dueling pianists with Fun Pianos! by 176 Keys will return for an encore performance after delighting the crowd a few years ago.

According to, “We’ve rocked out at rowdy fraternities and bachelor parties, kept the kids involved and parents laughing at our fun family show, and delivered at over a thousand memorable office parties all across the country.”

Why should people attend the evening? She points out, “We have changed our annual dinner concept from business oriented ... we’ve been in meetings all year. We are ready to end the year with relaxation and have fun with all the people we have worked with throughout the year. We have made it a party celebration vs. an annual meeting. We have found our members really do enjoy that type of event.”

The executive director is still searching for event sponsors at these levels: $1,000, diamond; $500, denim; $250, silver buckle; and $100, rhinestone.

Silent auction donations are needed as well. Because the committee has collected “a ton of gift certificates” already, now they would prefer contributions of gift baskets or other items.

Thomas adds, “I just want to encourage everybody to come. This is going to be a lot of fun!”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at or 812-717-3113.

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