2021 Good Citizen Connie Tipton

For her years of dedicated community volunteer efforts, Connie Tipton, center, was named the 2021 Good Citizen of the Year at the Bryan Area Foundation meeting Thursday. Presenting the award are, at left, BAF Chairman Mike Shaffer, and, at right, BAF President/CEO Amy Miller.

The City of Bryan is fortunate to have Imagination Station, a popular, creative playground in Recreation Park. More than $135,000 was raised to build the playground and thousands of Bryan and area citizens volunteered their time and talents to put the playground together.

But where did the idea come from? Who was the one person who brought the idea to Bryan?

It was Connie Tipton, of Bryan, who spearheaded the idea, and took the lead in the effort to build Imagination Station in Bryan after she and her husband, Stan, saw one like it in Wooster, Ohio.

For her leadership efforts to bring Imagination Station to life, and for her years of volunteer service on behalf of more than a dozen other local organizations, Tipton was named the 2021 Good Citizen of the Year by the Bryan Area Foundation on Thursday.

“It was surprising ... I am so appreciative. But it’s really about all the people I’ve worked with over the years that come together to make Bryan such a great community,” Tipton said Friday.

In addition to spearheading the Imagination Station, Tipton has been involved with the Bryan Area Foundation, the Williams County Family YMCA, the First Presbyterian Church, Bryan Civic League, Williams County Panhellenic Association, the Literary Form, Power in the Purse and the levy committee for Bryan City Schools.

Tipton has served on the Bryan Community Preschool board of directors, has been an active member of the YMCA, serving on the board of directors, and with husband Stan, co-chaired the annual “Campaign for Kids, Families and Community’’ drive. She has also been involved in many leadership roles at the First Presbyterian Church, including serving on the church building renovation campaign committee that raised over half a million dollars.

She retired from a job in marketing at Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers. She and Stan, a retired dentist, also raised three children — Mark, of Bryan; Emily, of Philadelphia, and Alex, of Minnesota, who all made the trip to Bryan to be in attendance on Thursday.

“Connie Tipton has been a very busy lady. She quietly went about her business making our Bryan community a better place to live. We are grateful for her service and thank her with the Bryan Area Foundation’s Good Citizen award,” Tom Voigt, who nominated Tipton, said in prepared remarks relayed by video Thursday.

The prestigious Good Citizen Award was endowed by the Hawk family in memory of their parents, Howard C. and Mary Allene Hawk. It is presented annually to one of Bryan’s outstanding citizens. In addition to establishing a fund with the Bryan Area Foundation, the family established the following four criteria to qualify for the award — a resident of Bryan for at least 20 years; active in unpaid positions in organizations providing services to Bryan; has held a leadership position on an area non-profit board; is associated with at least one outstanding accomplishment for the Bryan community.

Nominations are accepted and reviewed by a Bryan Area Foundation committee, which makes the selection.

Tipton, an Indianapolis native, met Stan on a blind date at Miami University and they have been married for 49 years. She has been a member of the Bryan Area Foundation for 23 years, serving as a trustee for two terms and has been chairperson of the Grantmaking Committee for four years and chairperson of the Public Relations Committee for eight years. She also served as a past board member of the foundation’s Power in the Purse, said Amy Miller, president and CEO of the BAF.

“I have enjoyed my participation with the Bryan Area Foundation ... it’s been very meaningful work,” Tipton said. Currently, she’s also involved in the BAF effort to bring the Christkindl market to Bryan this holiday season.

Looking back, Tipton said her volunteer leadership “just came sort of naturally, I think. But everyone I asked to participate always said ‘yes.’ And that’s what makes this community so great.”

Tipton became chairperson of the 25th anniversary of Imagination Station celebration, held Oct. 5, 2019. She said she did it partly with a goal in mind — to recruit a core group of young Bryanites to the effort.

“It was my way of passing the baton, from my generation to the next,” she said.

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