Community Spirit: Fahey Bank

Krista Biederman, a branch manager for Fahey Bank, often awards Athlete of the Month plaques to students at local high school sporting events. Photo: Kirk Irwin

The high school athletes in Marion County, Ohio, grow up with a connection to Fahey Bank, which gives out monthly awards to celebrate their achievements.

By William Atkinson

Fahey Bank in Marion, Ohio, created its Athlete of the Month program in 1981 as a way to recognize the hard work of local student athletes both on and off the field. Coaches at the five participating high schools in Marion County, Ohio, nominate one male and one female athlete each month who have participated in a sport that has just ended or is currently going on. In their nominations, the coaches talk about not only the students’ athletic achievements, but things that they do outside of school, such as volunteering in youth programs, mentoring students and participating in other activities.

The coaches present nominations to their schools’ athletic directors, and the athletic directors bring their nominations to $280 million-asset Fahey Bank’s monthly lunch meetings, which are also attended by a representative from the Marion Star newspaper, a representative from the WMRN radio station and Fahey Bank branch manager Krista Biederman.

Quick stat

Over the past


years, Fahey Bank has nominated two local high school students each month as part of the bank’s Athlete of the Month program

“All of us read all of the nominations, and then the athletic directors and the newspaper and radio station representatives vote,” says Biederman, who has been managing the program for the past 10 years. “I don’t vote.”

Each month, the male and female student athletes with the most votes win the award. If there’s a tie, then the judges vote again.

To make sure that as many athletes as possible are considered each academic year, no student athlete can win more than one award each year. However, it is possible for a student to win the award once a year for all four years of high school. “For example, we have one female athlete who is a senior this year and has won an award four years in a row,” Biederman says.

One might think that each athletic director would automatically vote for the athletes who represent their own school. However, that’s not always the case, according to Biederman. “When the athletic directors look at all of the statistics and service projects of all of the student athletes who have been nominated in a given month, they may end up voting for students from high schools other than their own,” she says.

Source of pride

Krista Biederman of Fahey Bank presents the bank’s Athlete of the Month award to Mason Sparks, who wrestled for Harding High School in Marion, Ohio. Photo: Kirk Irwin

In terms of publicity for the winners, each high school has its own hall of fame. Biederman arranges to have two plaques made for each winner each month. One plaque goes in that high school’s hall of fame, and the other is presented to the student. The program has been going on for so long that at least one of the high schools has had to add a new area to increase the size of its hall of fame.

I also enjoy the opportunity to present the plaques to the student athletes in person.”
—Krista Biederman, Fahey Bank

In addition, the Marion Star writes an article each month about the two winners. “We also feature the winners on our Fahey [Bank] Athlete of the Month Facebook page,” Biederman says.
As the person who manages the program for the bank, Biederman’s most important role is setting up and running the lunch meeting each month. She is also responsible for getting the plaques made and delivered. “Personally, I also enjoy the opportunity to present the plaques to the student athletes in person each month, which usually takes place at sporting events,” she says.

Obviously, the program provides positive publicity for Fahey Bank in the community, not only in the local newspaper’s reports and at plaque presentations, but in the high schools as well.

“When you walk in the high schools, you see Fahey Bank’s name all along the hall of fame walls.”
—Krista Biederman, Fahey Bank

“When you walk in the high schools, you see Fahey Bank’s name all along the hall of fame walls,” Biederman says. “We also hang our bank’s sponsor flags at all of the high schools’ sporting events.”

According to Biederman, when the students are getting to the point in their lives when they want to open up bank accounts or handle other banking needs, they already have a personal connection with Fahey Bank.

And some of the benefits are personal. Biederman recalls an incident with an athlete whom the bank honored. The week before he won, his father passed away unexpectedly. “It was really special for me to be able to present his award to him,” she says.

William Atkinson is a writer in Illinois.