The Bucks County Herald won one of four Achievement Awards presented by the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon at The Warrington.
The Herald won the Business Achievement Award. Other winners were Dr. Joseph Ohrt, Bucks County Arts Award; Ronald Bernstein, Humanitarian Award, and Visit Bucks County, the Ambassador of Bucks County Award.
The awards were presented by Barbara Donnelly Bentivoglio, immediate past chairman of the chamber.
She called, Bucks County “a vibrant region where business and industry leaders collaborate with artists and nonprofit executives to celebrate the beauty, culture, artistic renown and vibrant people who make up our county.”
Accepting the Business Achievement Award was Bridget Wingert, editor, who, with her late husband, Joe, founded the Herald in 2002.
It was a bold step in an industry that was collapsing, and only 3,000 copies of the first paper were printed. Donnelly Bentivoglio said, “Today, the company publishes 25,000 newspapers every week and has a readership of more than 100,000. The online edition has 6,000 subscribers and news is also circulated on social media platforms.”
Wingert said, “The newspaper started at the kitchen table with a shoebox full of business cards.” It expanded to an office with five computers and second-hand furniture. Its headquarters in Lahaska is fully staffed and served by about 40 freelance writers. Bridget and Joe’s son, Joseph G. Wingert, is now publisher.
Accepting the Bucks County Arts Award was Ohrt, conductor and director of choral activities and chairman of the music department of Central Bucks High School West.
“His unique teaching style has not only challenged thousands of students over the years but has also inspired an unprecedented number of collaborations with composers from around the globe,” said Donnelly Bentivoglio.
Ohrt said he had “encountered great opposition as a young artist” until he found his own voice and tried to “foster the quality of the greatest amount of art.” He said, “Life is indeed a canvas for all art.”
The Humanitarian Award went to Bernstein, executive director of Foundations Community Partnership.
Donnelly Bentivoglio said, “Ron created numerous grant programs for Bucks County nonprofits working with the neediest residents.”
Some examples of areas helped by those grants include providing transportation for the homeless, increasing access to vision services for the blind and visually impaired, offering training to young adults and adults with autism, and serving adolescents and young adults recovering from substance abuse.
Bernstein shared his personal philosophy, “to wake up every day and go to work and do great deeds.”
Jerry Lepping, president of Visit Bucks County, was named Ambassador of Bucks County.
“Under his leadership, the tourist organization has done an outstanding job of drawing day and overnight visitors to the region by promoting the arts, culture, festivals, history, restaurants, boutique shops, unique destinations and recreational activities,” Donnelly Bentivoglio said.
Lepping was not present to receive the award.
To conclude the program, one of Ohrt’s students, Eva Martinez, who this year earned the chamber’s Young Citizen Award, sang, “Climb Every Mountain.” She received a standing ovation.