Chamber Award Winners Announced
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the award winners who will be honored during this year’s Chamber Annual Awards Banquet in October.
The Economic Development Award will be presented to Southern Tier Brewing Company. One of the fastest growing companies in Chautauqua County, Southern Tier Brewing is known for its craft beers that are now distributed far and wide. Locally, its facility in Lakewood has become a destination for residents and visitors alike who are interested in brewery tours, tastings, and a myriad of festivals and events held there each year.
The Person of the Year Award is going to David Wilkinson, Business Manager of IBEW Local 106. Mr. Wilkinson was instrumental in organizing regional labor unions and local groups to rally to save the NRG plant in Dunkirk in the past year. His leadership and dedication to the project was extraordinarily important to its success. As a result of that work, NRG will convert its plant on the Dunkirk shoreline from coal to natural gas, providing a cleaner and sustained power source as well as maintaining jobs and the county’s single largest taxpaying entity.
Each Community Chamber also chooses a Community Service Award Winner as well. This year the Dunkirk Community Chamber has selected Dr. Raja Gopalan, a long-time surgeon known for both skill and compassion who established endowments with the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation to fund nursing scholarships, and to support the Lakeshore Humane Society and Northern Chautauqua Canine Rescue.
The Fredonia Community Chamber has chosen Joe Russo to posthumously receive the award for his work in establishing the RO Foundation, a charitable fund that assists patients and their families with unexpected travel expenses to hospitals and treatment centers both near and far.
The Hanover Community Chamber of Commerce selected David Kurzawa. Currently Acting Superintendent for the Silver Creek Central School District, he has been very active in Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity, serving as its president for the past five years and working tirelessly as a construction leader for Habitat projects.
The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce selected Tim Shults for its Community Service Award. While overseeing the Shults Auto Group as President and CEO, he serves on the boards of the Salvation Army, Chautauqua Striders, and Southwestern Schools Education Fund. He has also served the Jamestown YMCA and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, among others.
The Children’s Safety Village has been chosen for the Community Service Award from the Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce. Since opening in 2010, over 12,000 children have visited the village at the Hewes BOCES Center in Ashville to learn about pedestrian, bicycle, vehicle, and fire safety and more.
John Rawlinson has been selected as the Community Service Award winner by the Westfield-Barcelona Community Chamber of Commerce. Retired from Renold Corporation and the Westfield Development Corporation, last year he took charge of revitalizing the dormant community chamber, rebuilding its board of directors and serving as coordinator.
All of these people and organizations will be recognized during the Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet, which will be held Thursday, October 9 at the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia.
Community Chambers Award Scholarships
The Hanover Community Chamber of Commerce has awarded scholarships to high school seniors from Silver Creek and Forestville Central Schools.
Michael McCarthy is the son of Kevin and Debbie McCarthy of Sheridan and a graduate of Silver Creek Central School. A member of National Honor Society and Key Club, he was active in sports and played on the varsity basketball and lacrosse teams and was captain of the varsity soccer and golf teams. Michael will be attending SUNY Brockport and will be majoring in Finance this Fall.
Forestville graduate Jacob Schober was the other Hanover scholarship winner. He will attend Jamestown Business College in the fall and will major in Business.
The Dunkirk Community Chamber of Commerce presented scholarships to two students from Dunkirk High School: Dylan Oyer and Adrian Vega-Bautista. Dylan is the son of Rebecca Dyckes & Wayne Oyer. He will be attending SUNY Fredonia where he will study Business Administration and Accounting.
Adrian is the son of Araceli Bautista and Porfirio Vega. He plans to attend the University of Brockport and major in Business.
One Jamestown High School graduating senior received scholarships from both the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce and Dream It Do It in Chautauqua County. Jed Tonkin has maintained an A average throughout his high school career, taking classes at JHS and also attending the Diesel Mechanics program at the Hewes Educational Center for the past two years. He plans to attend Jamestown Community College in the fall where he will pursue an Associate’s degree in the Welding Program, before transferring to a four year school to get a Bachelor’s degree in Metallurgy.
Dunkirk Community Chamber Welcomes Sculptor
Dunkirk will welcome sculptor Peter Wolf Toth back to the city on July 10th with a reception at 5:30pm on the grounds of the Clarion Hotel. Wolf Toth created the iconic wooden Indian sculpture in Dunkirk in the summer of 1973. He chose northern Chautauqua County to house his New York State Whispering Giant, carving the unique statue from an elm tree on Park Avenue.
Peter Wolf Toth is a Hungarian-born sculptor and humanitarian, who immigrated to the United States and settled in Akron, Ohio. He studied art at the University of Akron, and eventually created a series of sculptures call the Trail of the Whispering Giants to chronicle the epic struggle of all men facing injustice, inhumanity, and tyranny. Peter has traveled the continents for over 40 years fulfilling a dream and personal mission to create his gifts of heroic monuments to honor the Native Americans and other people who have suffered. His 74th Whispering Giant was completed in Indiana in 2009. His giant statues are located in each of the 50 US states as well as Canada and Europe.
Over the years the Dunkirk statue became weathered and now needs repair. Wolf Toth has generously agreed to restore the beautiful landmark in Dunkirk.
The Dunkirk Community Chamber of Commerce supports this effort and encourages businesses and individuals to donate to the help cover his costs, and to view the restoration work adjacent to the Clarion Hotel and Tim Horton’s on Lake Shore Drive.