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Local students, businesses to be honored by Better Business Bureau

ST. LOUIS – The Better Business Bureau serving Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois will present Torch Awards to 10 businesses and two charities and Student of Ethics awards to three students at a luncheon at noon Tuesday, Oct. 14, at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis.

Robert L. Hoffmann, BBB board chair and president of Hoffmann Brothers Heating & Cooling, said, “This year’s Torch Award winners set stellar examples of excellent customer service. We should all emulate their character, ethics, and customer service skills.”

Mark Whitacre, a once-rising star at Archer Daniels Midland who became an internationally known whistleblower on the company’s price-fixing practices, will be the keynote speaker. Whitacre, whose story was the basis for the movie, “The Informant,” has found his way back into business and is in high demand as a motivational speaker.

KMOV news anchor Steve Savard will emcee the event.

Ten companies and two nonprofits will be recognized for their commitments to exceptional business ethics and customer satisfaction:

– BSR Services Inc., Maryland Heights, Mo.
– Center for Hearing & Speech, Rock Hill, Mo.
– Chesterfield Fence & Deck Co., Chesterfield, Mo.
– Classic Carpet & Flooring, Florissant, Mo.
– Empire Comfort Systems, Belleville, Ill.
– HDIS Inc., Olivette, Mo.
– Jim Butler Chevrolet, Fenton, Mo.
– Payne Family Homes, Olivette, Mo.
– Riggs Construction & Design, Kirkwood, Mo.
– Safe Connections, St. Louis, Mo.
– St. Louis County Cab Co., Olivette, Mo.
– StorageMart, Columbia, Mo.

Businesses are evaluated for their commitment to customer service through exceptional standards for ethical business practices. The awards committee, made up of previous winners, looks at how the company benefits customers, employees and the larger community. They also must meet BBB ethical, advertising and selling standards.

Companies and charities may nominate themselves, or they may be nominated by customers or other businesses.

The BBB presents winners with a crystal trophy that they can display. They may promote their status in advertising, marketing and on their websites.

Three high school students will receive Student of Ethics awards of $2,500 each to be applied toward college expenses. They were selected from 126 students who submitted essays, transcripts and recommendations. The winners are:

– Matthew Grove, Belleville Township High School East, Belleville, Ill.
– Montana Krause, Farmington High School, Farmington, Mo.
– Benjamin Pomerantz, University City High School, University City, Mo.

The Torch Awards luncheon is at noon Tuesday, Oct. 14, in the Khorassan Room at the Chase Park Plaza. Tickets for the luncheon are available at $60 a person, or $600 for a table of 10. Patron sponsorships, which include luncheon tickets, are available for $1,500.

To reserve a table or a seat at the event or for information on sponsorships, go to or call (314) 645-0606 or email

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