BBB: Torch Awards honor businesses, charities & students

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(KTVI) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois will present TORCH Awards to nine businesses and three charities and Student of Ethics awards to three students at a luncheon at noon Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis.

Chris Thetford spoke with Elliot Weiler about this annual honor and how the winners are chosen.

Joe Schmelzle, chairman of the BBB board and senior director of agency development for Unigroup Inc., said, “Each year, the economy and consumer sophistication bring new demands on business.  This year’s TORCH Award winners not only meet those demands but consistently exceed consumer expectations.  They are stellar examples of commitment and service that we should all emulate.”

Stephen M.R. Covey, best-selling author of The Speed of Trust, will be the keynote speaker. Covey is co-founder of Covey Link and FranklinCovey Global Speed of Trust Practice, leadership training firms that help companies raise trust from a fuzzy concept to a driver of their growth and profitability.

KSDK News Anchor Art Holliday will emcee the event.

Nine companies and three nonprofits will be recognized for their commitments to exceptional business ethics and customer satisfaction:

Businesses are evaluated for their commitment to customer service through exceptional standards for ethical business practices. The awards committee, made up of previous winners, looks at how the company benefits customers, employees and the larger community. They also must meet BBB ethical, advertising and selling standards.

Companies and charities may nominate themselves, or they may be nominated by customers or other businesses.

The BBB presents winners with a crystal trophy that they can display. They may promote their status in advertising, marketing and on their websites.

Three high school students will receive Student of Ethics awards of $2,500 each to be applied toward college expenses. They were selected from 126 students who submitted essays, transcripts and recommendations. The winners are:

  • Katherine Y. Ren, Clayton, Mo.
  • Martina M. Hukel, Belleville, Ill.
  • Madeleine E. Marlow, Festus, Mo.

The noon event is in the Khorassan Room at the Chase Park Plaza. Tickets for the luncheon are available at $50 a person, or $500 for a table of 10. Patron sponsorships, which include luncheon tickets, are available for $1,500.

To reserve a table or a seat at the event or for information on sponsorships, please call 314-645-0606 or send email to

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