When Bob Pimlott was announced as this year's winner of Madison Area Chamber of Commerce's Jeff Garrett Community Service Award, many in the audience at the Chamber's annual dinner had the same reaction.

What took so long?

The crowd was equally pleased when John and Lori Heitz were announced as the recipients of the Business Citizenship Award.

The selection committee couldn't have found more deserving people to honor.

Pimlott has a long history of service to the community with an emphasis on helping young people, and the Heitzes have turned a dream and hard work into a successful business - The Red Pepper and The Red Pepperoni restaurants in downtown Madison.

Bob Greene, last year's Community Service Award winner, read a comment from a friend in support of Pimlott:

"He does what he does and he is who he is, not for glory or recognition, but because it is the right and good thing to do. He puts others above self and service ..."

The Heitzes have carved out time from their busy schedule of operating restaurants to become involved in many nonprofit organizations.

Girls Inc., t-ball, baseball, soccer, and the United Way all have benefited from their support.

Also getting recognition for her hard work was Martha Ray who was named the 2012 Ambassador of the Year. For several years, she has touted the value of being a Chamber member to area businesses. Her good work has resulted in many local businesses joining the Chamber.

Congratulations to the award winners. Their service to the community sets an example for others to follow. If we do, the community will remain a special place to call home.