Edith DeHamer is the 2010 winner of the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce’s Service Award.
It is a fairly new award, with its purpose being to recognize people who put their time and effort into the success of the chamber.
DeHamer, who with her husband, Preston, owns Framing by Preston in downtown Waupaca, is the third recipient of the award. It was presented to her Tuesday, Jan. 25, during the chamber’s annual awards program at the Best Western Grand Seasons Hotel.
Helping others has always been a part of DeHamer’s life. It is something she loves to do.
“My motto is love God, love people and give more than you take,” she said. “I’ve volunteered my whole life, starting when the kids were in school. ‘Ask Edith. She won’t say no.’ That’s what they always used to say.”
DeHamer’s involvement in the chamber is as an ambassador. Chamber ambassadors welcome new businesses into the community and also encourage those businesses to join the local chamber of commerce.
Her service in Waupaca does not stop there.
DeHamer is also a member of the Riverside Medical Center Auxiliary Board and of the Kiwanis Club. In addition, she delivers Meals on Wheels twice a month, helps with the annual Arts on the Square festival, and volunteers for the hospital auxiliary and also at Faith Community Church, where she is a member.
She says it is fun to be involved in a variety of organizations, because it results in ways to help different people.
Volunteering has always been a part of DeHamer’s life, and so, after she and Preston moved to Waupaca, she “jumped right in,” she said, finding ways to give of her time.
It was about 15 years ago that the DeHamers moved from Kenosha to Waupaca.
For some time, they had owned a home in rural Almond, and during their trips north, they often visited Waupaca.
“We planned on retiring up here but still wanted to be doing something,” she said.
The couple found themselves making that move earlier than anticipated.
On one particular visit it was Strawberry Fest weekend, and as they strolled downtown, their daughter-in-law noticed an empty storefront and remarked that it would be a neat gallery.
That was in June 1995, and the building was for sale.
DeHamer’s husband had already been doing framing as a hobby – doing so for friends out of their home in Kenosha.
“When we got back to Kenosha, I could tell he was thinking about it,” she said of the vacant building in Waupaca. “After we made some inquiries, we decided to go ahead and open up an art gallery.”
On April 15, 1996, they opened Framing by Preston, and their son, Steve, eventually joined them in the business.
Over the years, she has been involved in other community organizations, including Main Street Waupaca. “I got the Volunteer of the Year award for that years back,” DeHamer said.
She says one can always find time to serve others, and while it is not always easy, it is rewarding.
As for their decision to move to this area and open a gallery, DeHamer said, “I love it. We enjoy it here very much. The people are wonderful. There’s a lot to be said about a smaller town.”