(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
Riley was nominated for the special incentive program award by Joe Easley and Debbie Boyette of the Osceola plant. Top five finalists were selected in six categories of competition, which included 382 nominees. The categories included innovation, market success, team leadership, customer service, community service and personal initiative.
The awards were presented in Cleveland, Ohio, at the world headquarters of American Greeting. The top five finalists in the six divisions stayed at the Ritz Carlton, in Cleveland, and attended several preplanned breakfasts and dinners before the final winners were announced. Charles "Bo" McCollum, Etowah mayor, was named first place winner in the Community Service category, with Riley being named in the top five finalist bracket.
Each winner was presented with certificates and plaques in recognition of the honor, plus the all expense paid trip to Cleveland. Finalists toured American Greeting world headquarters and visited Carlton Creative Enterprises, responsible for art and design work on greeting cards.
Riley's wife, Wendy, accompanied him on the trip, and they were able to tour several tourist attractions while in Cleveland and the Lake Erie area.
Riley is a graduate of Caraway High School and has worked at the American Greeting in Osceola for 23 years. His nominators listed several areas of community service that he had been involved in, which included volunteer fireman since 1992 and now serving as chief, instrumental in securing a $50,000 fire department grant to purchase a new fire truck, recipient of Advance Firefighting status consisting of 216 hours of training, volunteer ambulance service EMT for 10 years, instrumental in securing ambulance service $75,000 grant for new ambulance, certified lay evaluator for health department, trained weather spotter, city council for two years, basketball coach for three years, and recipient of Masonic Lodge Community Service Award in 1997 and Lion's Club Person of the Year for 2004.
The Rileys make their home in Caraway where they are very active in the community. Their daughter, Toni, is in the 11th grade at Riverside High School. Riley is the son of Joanne and Bill Riley of Caraway.