Troy and Katie Benham of Marion have been announced as recipients of the first Morris F. Neighbor Community Impact Award. The announcement was made by Mayor Nick AbouAssaly at the Marion State of City address on Thursday.
The Benhams have lived in Marion for nearly 30 years and have spent that time building relationships and taking care of people through their generosity and service. From strangers broken down on the side of the road to employees at their family-owned business, Marion Goodyear, to a teen who encountered hard times, the Benhams continually find ways to pay it forward.
“I can’t think of two people who share more enthusiasm for helping the community and making a true difference in people’s lives than Troy and Katie,” said longtime friend Mike Tomash in the couple's nomination. “They truly want to see those around them grow and succeed.”
The Benhams have organized Thanksgiving meals for those in need, led and organized cancer benefits for friends, supported area schools and spearheaded the “Miles for Smiles” vehicle giveaway with the Salvation Army for eight years.
After the derecho, they organized a team of their employees to walk neighborhoods and perform well-being checks and help remove debris. Not only are the Benhams willing to help others, but they also take time to mentor and shape the lives of those they touch.
As Tomash noted, “I cannot think of two better people who model the attributes of the Community Impact Award daily – sometimes when people are watching, and other times when no one is watching. They always do the right thing.”
The Community Impact Award is presented by the Marion Chamber of Commerce and City of Marion. It honors longtime banker and community philanthropist Morris F. Neighbor. Neighbor began his career at Farmers State Bank in 1945 as a teller and in 1968, he and his wife, Betty, purchased the bank. Throughout his career, he championed the importance of volunteerism and dedication to community. Through his leadership, the Neighbor family has given to countless capital campaigns, community events and charitable organizations. Mr. Neighbor passed away in 2019 at the age of 100, but his legacy lives on in part, through the annual Morris F. Neighbor Community Impact Award.