Joshua Morrison/News From left, Denise and Mark Ramser receive the William Stroud Jr. Award for Community Service from Peggy and Mayor Richard Mavis at the 2019 Snowflake Gala event Friday night. The gala benefits Knox County Food for the Hungry.

Joshua Morrison/Mount Vernon News

From left, Denise and Mark Ramser receive the William Stroud Jr. Award for Community Service from Peggy and Mayor Richard Mavis at the 2019 Snowflake Gala event Friday night. The gala benefits Knox County Food For The Hungry.

  • Joshua Morrison/News
  • Joshua Morrison/News
  • Joshua Morrison/News

GAMBIER — The 9th Annual Snowflake Gala was held Friday in the athletic center at Kenyon to benefit Food For The Hungry’s campaign to help those in need.

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis and his wife Peggy were the Gala Chairs this year. Mavis thanked all those who came out to the event and thanked the Food For the Hungry committee for making the event part of his farewell tour; Mavis is serving his last term as mayor, retiring at the end of the year.

“When we agreed to serve as chairs for the annual gala, it was for two reasons,” he said. The first was because they believe in the cause and the urgency of the needs in Knox County. Secondly, he said, was because they could not pass up the opportunity to honor Denise and Mark Ramser, the 2019 recipients of the William A. Stroud Jr. Award for Community Service.

The award is given out to those who, like Stroud, served the community well. Richard and Peggy described both Denise and Mark Ramser as philanthropists, humanists, role models and volunteers. They both have worked with a wide variety of groups and individuals to address the needs of the community.

Mark Ramser has served on numerous boards including the Knox County Foundation and the Knox County Historical Society. Denise Ramser taught as a Mount Vernon kindergarten teacher for several years and has volunteered at Knox Starting Point, Wiggin Street Elementary and the Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. They both have worked with supporting Knox County’s three higher education institutes in gaining presence in the downtown community, something that Richard Mavis said is Mark’s proudest accomplishment.

“It seems most fitting that we present the William A. Stroud Jr. Award for Community Service for 2019 to Denise and Mark Ramser, Knox County community leaders,” Richard Mavis said presenting the award.

Mark was a man of few words as he accepted his award, but he said he has enjoyed the life that he and his family lives in Knox County.

“We really enjoy our involvement in the community,” Mark said. “We’re glad to be able to participate in bringing the presence of all three (colleges) to downtown Mount Vernon.”

He said that he appreciates the way everyone can work together downtown and all the experiences he and Denise were able to have by serving the community, especially Food For the Hungry. He said that he and his wife were happy to help those in need by being at the gala that night working with the Salvation Army and the social services that are involved with Food For the Hungry.

“We’re glad to receive this award,” Mark said, mentioning that he had the honor of personally knowing Stroud. “(Stroud) really was a wonderful human being.”

Three short videos were played during the gala. The first video was titled “The Wisdom of Bill Stroud.” It showed brief clips of Stroud to introduce the man whose commitment to the people of the county and philanthropy inspired the award given that night.

The second was titled “A Legacy of Leadership: Denise and Mark Ramser.” Directed and produced by Matt Star, the video showcased several individuals, including Mayor Mavis, talking about what the Ramsers brought to the community and the projects that they have helped with. It thanked the couple for the hard work they have done for the community.

The last was titled “Choices” and it featured testimonies from the local community leaders involved in Food For the Hungry. It spoke about the reasons people need to join in to help collect the necessary food and funds needed to help those in the community.

A live Fund-a-Cause auction was held to purchase truckloads of food and financial assistance for families. All money raised from the event will benefit those in need in Knox County this holiday season.

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Jamie Holland: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @



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