Fair treasurer wins state award

TROY — Judy Trissell was plenty surprised when the Miami County Agricultural Society named her the Fair Supporter of the Year for the county late last year.

But there was more to come.

During its regular board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 5, it was announced that Trissell, the board’s treasurer for the last 13 years who is retiring at the end of the month, also had won a state award for her service.

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda spoke to the Miami County Agricultural Society at the meeting via Zoom, congratulating Trissell on the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Director’s Award for Innovation and Excellence, in conjunction with the Ohio Fair Managers Association.

This is a yearly award given by Pelanda and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to honor top local fair supporters for their outstanding service, according to ODA Assistant Communications Director Sharon Showalter. Winners are chosen each year by a committee at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Showalter said.

“I’m just flabbergasted,” Trissell said after the award was revealed. “I’m very appreciative and honored. It’s just humbling.”

Trissell was one of 21 recipients across the state who received the award for their progressive ideas and actions to improve and strengthen their local fairs, Showalter said,

Pelanda said her county fair was a driving force in her life.

“As I child I had no understanding of how many people, how many adults, were involved in making that fair happen. Now, as the director of agriculture and also intimately involved with the county fair programs, I have a deep dedication for all of you … but also for the person we are going to honor here tonight, and that person is Judy Trissell,” Pelanda said during the meeting.

Pelanda pointed to Trissell’s abilities and how she has helped keep the ag society running for more than a decade.

“In those 13 years, she tirelessly worked with the group, making sure the money was taken in correctly at the gates, and working through audits,” Pelanda said. “I’m sure like many of us whenever we take a new job on, we have no idea what the complexities are going to be. But Judy willingly took on the responsibilities, and made not only the Miami County Agricultural Society proud but the entire county proud of her efforts.”

Board president Nick Shellenberger said he believes this is a first for the county.

“We’re just excited to announce our Fair Supporter of the Year is a state award winner, and the first county winner we know of,” Shellenberger said.

Trissell said she has thoroughly enjoyed the more than a decade of working in the secretary’s office, even with the long hours leading up to and during the fair.

“I’ve met some wonderful people along the way and learned a lot about the inner workings of the Miami County Fair,” she said. “The fair board is made up of generous, hard-working and dedicated people who all share a passion for the fair.”

The Troy resident has three children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren between Ohio and Tennessee that she also plans to visit more often, and said retirement will allow her to relax.