Christian D. Larson Awards and Holiday Party

Prayer Written by Phather Phil and Read by Bob Burkman

Heavenly Father,

This is the time of year when I am filled with sadness and joy at the same time. Sadness for the loved ones that have gone and joy that I have fond memories of them still with me. For all my friends I pray they will use this time of year to cement their love and joy for one another and secure fond memories to bolster them in the years to come. If I had but one wish, I would wish you mountain moving faith in our Lord and Savior and know we are blessed to be living under the council of an ever-loving God.


Thank You to the Social Committee

Special thanks to the Social Committee:  Debe Dockins, Sarah Umbreit and Sue Jessee and their team. The event was held at the Moraine Country Club and it was a night to remember.  The venue was beautiful and festive. Sue Jessee, Judy DeMarco and Debe Dockins worked with Moraine Country Club.

Sarah Umbreit kept track of the reservations. Roland handled the money.  Greg Griffin made all the nametags, place cards and took all the photos. On the night of the event, Barbara Santo, Judy DeMarco, Sue Brubaker, Debe Dockins and Sarah Umbreit decorated the room and tables.

CNO 2021 Holiday Party

Tonight, we celebrated the holiday season. After checking in, everyone had their picture taken by the holiday tree. Thank you to CNO member Greg Griffin for being tonight’s photographer.

We had an hour of socialization with appetizers. Following the cocktail hour, we had a plated dinner with more socializing getting us all into the holiday spirit.

There was a poinsettia as the centerpiece on each table. Through a random drawing, winners took home the poinsettias.

Evelyn Griffin had the winning bid for the floral arrangement that Gail Aiken arranged to be donated by Centerville Florists. The money will be donated to The Castle Strong Optimist Club.

Live Entertainment

After dinner we were entertained by 11-year-old Owen Brockman and his 9-Year old brother Will Brockman. The duo put on quite the show!

You can view the 27 minute video of the very entertaining show here.

Owen played several songs on the piano and his banjo. Will joined in with his guitar on two songs while Owen played the banjo. The audience was really into it singing songs like Rocky Top, the theme song to the Beverly Hillbillies, and “New York State of Mind” written by Billy Joel.

Owen was the winner of the 1st CNO Centerville/Washington Township’s GOT TALENT in the spring of 2021.

Christian D. Larson Awards

Barbara Santo, Vida McDowell and Larry Lynde, the winners of the Christian D. Larson awards from last year, introduced the three recipients for this year. This year’s recipients are Craig Dring, Chris McAlpine, and, posthumously, Don Wildenhaus.

Craig Dring, Christian D. Larson Award Recipient 2021

(notes from Barbara Santo, 2020 recipient)

This award winner joined our club over 25 years ago. Since then, he has been a consistent attendee at noon meetings.

He had been a tireless worker at the tree lot, almost never missing a shift.

He has been highly involved with the Childhood Cancer Campaign, even chairing, which has kept him active with Build a Bear.

He loves the haunted trail.

He headed up the Americana Booth for many years helping set up the tent and sold everything from root beer floats to Alex’s lemonade.

He has been a sponsor of the golf outing for many years, maybe almost 20.  Now that is a sponsor.

He has been on the Community Champion Committee from the start.

He has been a co-chair of Tri Star Basketball, coaching both basketball and soccer.

He has made a generous contribution to Adopt-a-Family.

He has been on the Board of Directors numerous times, even serving as VP.

He helped start the Top Optimist Club last year.

And, the best of all (maybe before tonight’s award,) he was Optimist of the Year 2009-2010.

Oh, I almost forgot, he brought his lovely wife, Dana, into our club.

So, congratulations to Craig Dring.

Craig Dring joined CNO on 5/7/1997

Chris McAlpine, Christian D. Larson Award Recipient 2021

(notes from Vida McDowell, 2020 recipient)

This individual joined the Centerville Noon Optimist Club in 2009.  Since then, he has served our club in a variety of roles including:

  • Board of Directors
  • Golf Sponsor
  • Finance Committee
  • Long Range Planning Committee Chair
  • Tree Lot Captain
  • Tri Star Soccer Chair
  • and Club President.

His community involvement goes far beyond his Optimist activities. He is on the Board of Directors of Centerville-Washington Township Foundation. He is also on the Advisory Committee of Washington Centerville Public Library.

This individual loves coaching kids and helping them find the love for sports. He coaches youth soccer, Basketball, and baseball teams.  He was also the assistant Coach for the Centerville Varsity Soccer team, who made it to the state championships this year.

Last, but not least, our amazing recipient also assists on the Greek Festival.

It is my honor to present the Christian D Larson award to Chris McAlpine.

Chris McAlpine joined CNO on 1/27/2009.

Don Wildenhaus, Christian D. Larson Award Recipient 2021

(notes from Larry Lynde, 2020 recipient)

Please join me in honoring a long-time member of our Optimist Club that has significantly contributed to the club’s goals and activities.

He participated in the many fundraisers and events that were held for children.  He served on the CNO Board for a period of time and was always willing to chip in and help with any work that needed to be done.   When we worked on the tree lot, he was there. When we did flags, he was there.  Pick the event for children and he was there.

He joined CNO to be involved with helping children.  He was so dedicated to children he focused on only activities with no real interest in social gatherings.  When I asked him about coming to a social, he had his typical direct way.  “That’s not why I joined.”

One of the key people in the growth of TOP soccer, he was there from the beginning and served on the board of TOP soccer of Dayton, it became his true commitment and dedication.   He made a real connection with the TOP players and parents and helping those young people to participate in soccer.

I’m honored to present this Christian D. Larson award to Paula Wildenhaus and their daughter Jessica in honor of Don Wildenhaus.

Don Wildenhaus joined CNO on 9/30/1997 and he was a member until he died in 2020.

Details about the Christian D. Larson Award

Barbara Santo presented the following:

The Christian D. Larson award is Optimist International’s most prestigious award. This award is a lifetime achievement recognition given to a person who has exemplified outstanding service to both our community as a whole and The Centerville Noon Optimist Club in particular.

The award was named in honor of Mr. Larson because he was the author of the well-known Optimist Creed which was written in 1912 and is what we Optimists live by every day. In the one hundred years of Optimist International, with hundreds of thousands of members, less than 800 individuals worldwide have been accorded this honor, 27 of whom are from our club.

Each year, our club donates half the proceeds of the tickets purchased for the 50/50 drawing along with all the money raised through the Sergeant at Arms fines and Happy Bucks during our Noon meetings. This money goes to the Optimist International Foundation for the purpose of supporting its charitable, literary, and educational activities. In return, for each one thousand dollars donated, the Optimist International Foundation grants our club the privilege of presenting a Christian D. Larson Award.

In 2007 our Board of Directors voted to present the Christian D. Larson award to our club members in order to recognize their positive contributions over a long period of time. Our Optimist Board had selected all the recipients from 2007 – 2012. In 2013, they decided that going forward it would best be decided by our growing group of past Larson Award recipients. 

Each new honoree must have a minimum of ten years in the club, have held leadership positions, contributed greatly to both the community and our club, exhibited a positive optimistic attitude, and volunteered consistently over many years actively enhancing the club’s formula for success.

Previous Recipients of the Christian D. Larson Award

  • Steve Fisher
  • Margaret Barclay
  • Phil Robinson
  • Joe Madden
  • Jerry Stahley
  • Chuck Dickerson
  • Jim Hawley
  • Bill Stone
  • Gary Aiken
  • Judy DeMarco
  • Dan Beck
  • Gary Smiga
  • Kelly Stone
  • Mike Bevis
  • Tom Novak
  • Gary Anderson
  • Will Cale
  • Don Kelley
  • Charlie Tapp
  • Bob Burkman
  • Nancy Lehren
  • Pat Behn
  • Mary Madden
  • Myron Rheaume
  • Tom Frazier
  • Stan Fronzaglia
  • Karl Frydryk
  • Joan Cordonnier
  • Gail Aiken
  • Roy Barclay
  • Barbara Santo
  • Vida McDowell
  • Larry Lynde

Links to Pictures Taken and Video of Owen Brockman’s Performance

A Video of Owen Brockman’s Performance is here

The Photos Taken at the Holiday Party are Here.

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