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BBB's Mike Coil passing the torch soon

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He got a surprise at the agency's annual Torch Awards lunch on Thursday.

Friday, May 3, 2013 - 10:47 am

Mike Coil got a bit of a shock at the unscripted part of Thursday's Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Marketplace Ethics. Emcee Melissa Long called the BBB president back to his seat onstage after he went to the award table to honor other people. The start of the program to praise students and business leaders who showed ethical decisions was dedicated to Coil, who will retire July 1.

“Mike, Mike,” Long said. “I need you to have a seat. You're jumping the gun a little bit. Our first honoree is a surprise entry. Please turn your attention to the screen.”

A retrospective of Coil's work with business leaders, photos with previous Torch award recipients and finally photos of him with his family. Marjorie Stephens, BBB spokeswoman, spoke in the retrospective, explaining her instructions from Coil for planning the Torch Awards when she joined the agency 10 years ago.

“Mike wanted the BBB to be known for more than a place to go to when you want to file a complaint,” she said. “He wanted to spotlight trust, integrity, and honesty and show its relevance to the well-being of a community.”

Joined onstage by his family, including his wife and grandchildren, board chairman Jason Knothe, presented him with a plaque for his nearly 13 years of service.

“Trust and integrity is never out of style,” Coil said before sharing his appreciation for his staff and the business and nonprofit owners and staff members in the audience.

Coil took up the lead for consumer protection agency after Tom Bartholomy left in 2001 after 19 years.

The agency provides reports on businesses that include complaints and BBB ratings to consumers.

“Doing the right thing is the right thing,” Coil read from his prepared statements to the audience. “…This year over a million consumers will come to BBB looking for trustworthy businesses and charities. That's what keeps us relevant in this community.”

Coil's replacement has been chosen, he said, but that person has not notified his company, so an announcement is not yet ready.

Those who received awards

The Rev. Donovan A. Coley Sr., CEO of the Rescue Mission and president of the Rescue Mission Foundation since March 2008

Anne Reel, director of Humane Society Elkhart County

Brian Emerick, owner of Micropulse, which makes medical devices

Stephen Jarrell, executive director of Headwaters Counseling, which provides drug and alcohol rehabilitation

Dan Maucher, president of Allen Business Machines, who remembered his father, Elmer, starting the business in 1950 with $600

Individual of Integrity: Sue Ehinger, chief operating officer of Parkview Hospital, who oversaw the planning for Parkview Regional Medical Center

Student of Integrity Scholarship Award recipients

Each student will receive a $2,000 scholarship to the post-secondary school of choice. Students won on the basis of an essay, community service and activities that they participate in.

*Rebecca Sue Burchett , of Mississinewa High School, wrote in an essay that she was on the 18th hole in the best match she'd played when she lost her ball. Her coach pointed out her ball and Rebecca played it and grew in excitement as she saw a chance to take the lead in the match, only to have those hopes dashed when she looked at the ball and realized it wasn't hers. She had a decision to make: say nothing and perhaps win the match or call attention “or adhere to my principles and turn myself in for breaking one of the biggest rules in golf,” she wrote. “Never did it occur to me to lie. I'm a competitor, an athlete, but that does not mean that I win at all costs. I win the right way.” She will be attending Taylor University, where she will major in marketing.

*Sarah Kay Clary of Angola High School. The student body president helped found a program affiliated with Drug Free Steuben County and volunteers for several community organizations. She offered help to a troubled student who was removed from a program who was acting out because of dealing with his mother's cancer. The boy later wrote her a letter explaining his situation and how much her kindness had affected him. “By treating everyone as a person first, I believe we can bring out the best in them. She will attend Butler University.

*Laura Elizabeth Sigworth of Adams Central High School. She has been on seven mission trips, working on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, ministering to the poor in Kentucky, building homes in Mexico, and ministering to inner-city refugees in Fort Wayne. She wrote how she was put to the test by a high school friend. “For three months, he texted me on and off, saying that he hated his life and family, that no one liked him and that he was going to kill himself. At first, I could tell he was just kidding, but as time went on, he threatened suicide more frequently. What made this especially hard was that he told me, 'If you're a true friend, you won't say anything to anyone else,'…almost as if he was testing my friendship." Eventually, she told their youth pastor, who met with his parents. While the friend was furious for a time he later said "Thank you for saving my life."