WOOSTER Over the years, Vicky Puster’s hobbies have led her to volunteer in the community where she grew up. It makes sense to get involved and lend a helping hand to your people, she said.
And when volunteering aligns with personal interests – well, that’s a big bonus.
“I don’t do it for the rewards,” said Puster, who is a senior financial analyst at the Seaman Corp. to Wooster. “I am a treasurer for many organizations because it is my expertise. … If I can give back using my talents as a financial person, I feel like I need to.”
This year the Wooster Region Chamber of Commerce rewards Puster with the Mike Lezak Award for Volunteer Service. She will be honored on Thursday, May 20 at the annual room awards banquet.
“It is truly an honor to win,” she said, “especially an award with Mike Lezak’s name on it.”
Love of gardening leads to volunteer opportunities
Puster – who spent 23 years in various accounting positions at Seaman Corp. – is also an avid gardener and enjoys creating flower arrangements. It’s a passion that comes from her parents, she says.
She grew up in northern Wayne County, near Creston. Puster has childhood memories of picking fruits and vegetables from the garden, which his mother would.
Puster is the co-superintendent of flowers at the Wayne County Fair. She is also treasurer of the Ohio Garden Club Association and the Moreland Garden Club, where she is active in the annual plant sale that donates to a scholarship to the Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) in the State of Ohio.
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“That’s kind of how I entered the bedroom,” she said. “They knew I was involved in the fair and they were looking for someone to write the schedules for the flower shows.”
Puster then joined the Wayne County Home & Garden Show Committee. She helps plan the chamber event, which took place April 24-25 at the fairgrounds, and also volunteers as a flower show judge.
ATI’s floral design students take part in the flower show and compete for the plaques, she said. Members of local garden clubs also participate in the show and win cash prizes. Although the shows did not take place this year, Puster helped buyers with the sale of the chamber’s plants.
“Vicky has a long history of supporting the Wayne County Home & Garden Show, bringing her green thumb and her vast knowledge of all things gardening,” said Samira Zimmerly, president of the Wooster area chamber of commerce. “Vicky plays a decisive role in the beautification of the event by organizing the annual flower contest.
The Home & Garden Show is an affordable, family-oriented event for area residents, Puster said. Hosting and inviting small businesses to exhibit is one way the chamber shows its support, she added.
“Giving back is what makes our community,” she said.
Making Connections in Wayne County
Another memorable part of Puster’s connection to the chamber was attending the grand opening Leadership Wooster program, which trains participants to build a strong community.
“I am so happy to see that this has continued,” she said. “It helps leaders and volunteers take an interest in the community and helps you determine what you can volunteer for.
After graduating from high school in Norwayne, Puster attended vocational school to study accounting. His first career was with a car dealership; she ended up working as a business manager for about 11 years.
She earned an associate degree in computer science from Wayne College in Orrville, followed by an accounting degree from Ashland University. After spending around five years with Rubbermaid, Puster moved to Kent for several years. Eventually, she landed in Seaman and came back home.
Puster and her husband attend St. John’s Evangelical Church in Lakeville, where she donates her homemade jams and volunteers during the fall festival. She has three stepchildren and six grandchildren.
Although Puster now resides in Ashland County, “my heart is still Wayne,” she said.
“You get what you put out of it,” she said of volunteering. “Networking and community, for me, it’s very rewarding. I’m having a lot of fun.”