The Hillsborough County (Fla.) Bar Association has selected Harold Oehler, general counsel for Lazydays RV Center Inc., as its Corporate Counsel of the Year for 2009, according to Reuters.

The association will present this award Thursday in Tampa. John Horton, CEO of Lazydays, will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony and will speak on the topic, “Navigating Your Business Through a Challenging Economy.”

Oehler was selected for his part in guiding his company through one of the most difficult periods in the history of the RV industry, for leading his company’s efforts to help at risk children in the Tampa Bay area and for his work to strengthen the RV industry and improve public safety.

For the past 10 years,  Oehler has served as general counsel for Lazydays. In 2007, he played a major role in obtaining the passage of Florida’s first RV dealer protection law which helped strengthen Florida RV dealerships across the state. The following year,  Oehler spearheaded a nationwide safety campaign to improve vehicle weight information provided to travel trailer owners in order to prevent vehicle overloading, a leading cause of blowouts and rollovers. Traveling the country at the beginning of the economic downturn, Oehler recruited competing dealers and manufacturers to work together on this issue. His efforts ultimately helped improve safety standards for RV users and their families.

 On the local level, Oehler helped his company’s employees create a non-profit foundation to benefit at risk children in the Tampa Bay area. The Lazydays Partners Foundation has since raised $400,000 to build The Lazydays House, which is part of A Kid’s Place, Hillsborough County’s first emergency foster care facility. The Lazydays House provides children who have been removed from abusive situations with a child-friendly environment, medical care, counseling and schooling from licensed professionals. At The Lazydays House, siblings can even remain together until they are placed into a foster home.

The Foundation has also funded college scholarships for 50 underprivileged children in the Tampa Bay area. Each “Lazydays Scholar” signs a contract to maintain a certain grade point average and remain drug and crime free in order to receive their scholarship. Funding for The Lazydays House and the Lazydays Scholars is provided almost entirely by weekly payroll deductions voluntarily made by Lazydays employees.

“I am humbled by this award, but it truly is the result of a lot of hard work and dedication by the employees of our company who chose to focus on our customers and the kids they wanted to help, during a very challenging time in our industry’s history,” Oehler said. “I accept this award on their behalf.”

The Lazydays Partners Foundation is a non-profit corporation formed by the employees of Lazydays in order to enhance their ability to support children’s causes. The mission of the foundation is to “measurably change the lives of children by instilling hope, inspiring dreams and empowering them with education.” The foundation is funded primarily through payroll deductions pledged by employees of Lazydays. Working in partnership with other non-profit organizations, the Lazydays Partners Foundation has generated gifts to children’s causes in the Tampa Bay area of over $1 million. For more information visit www.ldpf.org.