Fulton Chamber Honors Steele, Shimer, Others
The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism held its 2010 Celebration of Excellence and Distinction awards banquet Saturday evening and recognized four community members for their contributions to Fulton County.
Dr. Jack Steele, a local dentist, was given the Person of the Year award in recognition of his “sense of community” through his work with the Lions Club and at Lions Club Park.
Steele was presented the award by longtime friend Greg Hays, who called him “a devoted professional and a loyal young man who is a compassionate and caring individual.”
Steele, a 2001 graduate of Mc- Connellsburg High School, went on to earn a degree in biology from Penn State and then graduated from the University of Pittsburgh’s dental school. He opened a dental practice in Dry Run in 2003 and in 2005, he took over the practice of the late Dr. Walter Grissinger in McConnellsburg. The fact that he still spends time at the Dry Run office is testimony to his loyalty and dedication, Hays said.
His community work includes membership in the Lions Club, where he serves as secretary, and he also serves as secretary of the Little League. Hays said, “He and his wife have spent many hours working to keep Lions Park alive.” Hays said his contributions to the Lions organization have been recognized by many, including President Todd Alexander, who said “you can always count on him to help – he is 100 percent reliable.” Another member, Scott Alexander, praised him for leading the Lions benefit auction each year. Tom Duffey, according to Hays, called him the next generation of business leaders for our community.
Following up on Hays’ comments about his love of family, Steele offered an emotional thank-you to his parents, Steve and Jan, and said that without them, he could not have achieved his dream to become a dentist and practice in his hometown. He also thanked his wife, Steph, and said “we both look forward to growing old together in this community. ” He recognized his dental staff, most of who were in attendance, for supporting him in his work.
Steele talked about his passion for community service and said, “Growing up, I had two role models – the late Ray Koontz and H.J. Culler. They instilled in me the importance of community serv- ice.” He also thanked the chamber and asked that everyone consider shopping in our hometown. “Don’t go to Lowe’s when you can go to Harryman’s – patronize our local restaurants.”
The Outstanding Citizen award was presented to Marie Shimer by her daughter, Jackie Mellott.
Calling her mother a dedicated, dynamic leader, Mellott said her mother has volunteered with the Girl Scouts since 1964. Throughout the years, Mellott said, “she has worked diligently with the organization for World Thinking Day, day camp director, Rainbow Camp board – she has been a businesswoman and she can recycle anything.”
Shimer is retired from the Central Fulton School District with 27 years of service as an aide.
Among her other community services, Shimer is a lifetime member of the Green Hill Sewing Club, a charter member of Beta Sigma Phi and works with the sorority’s fair queen contest. She has led the sorority’s and Girl Scouts’ work on the county’s Children’s Christmas Project for more than 30 year and has, each year, enlisted sorority and Girl Scouts to wrap more than 800 gifts for the project. She has served on the Fulton County Services for Children’s Advisory Board since the 1980s.
She is also dedicated to veterans’ services and each year, she and the Girl Scouts decorate the downtown with flags and bows for Memorial Day. Mellott said, “She has served as a volunteer for decades, and she is the definition of a volunteer.”
In accepting the award, Shimer, a woman of few words, thanked the chamber and thanked those in attendance. Fulton County’s den mother then asked everyone to stand who had ever had any affiliation with the Girl Scouts and then thanked them.
This year’s Community Service award was presented to Brian Strait by Judy Neil of Phantom Fireworks. Neil is also a member of the chamber’s board of directors.
She introduced Strait as a Southern Fulton High School graduate who spent eight years in the U.S. Army before returning home. He is employed by PennDOT and has been a member of the Needmore Volunteer Fire Co. since 1990. In the company, he has served in the fire police, as a lieutenant, captain and assistant chief and has been the president, vice president and ambulance treasurer of the organization. He is a top-10 responder for the company and has received the Fireman of the Year award as well as the Herb Fisher Memorial Award.
Strait has been a Little League coach, an elementary basketball coach and since 2004 has been heavily involved in the youth soccer program.
In accepting the award, Strait spoke of his passion for the Warfordsburg Area Youth Soccer (WAY) program and credited his wife, Gerri, for his interest in community service.
Excellence in Small Business
Neil also presented the Excellence in Small Business award to Scott Hendershot of Town Hill Auto. Hendershot, who had previously worked at Thomas Auto Dealership, opened Town Hill Auto in 1996 and specialized in major and minor repairs and towing. In 2008, he began selling used cars and in 2010, he began offering his own financing inhouse for the autos. Also in the fall of 2009, he began a car rental business called Anytime Auto Rentals. Neil said, “Scott is known for his honesty, integrity and respect.”
In accepting the award, Hendershot stressed customer service and his loyalty to his employees. He has six full-time and several part-time employees. “I have been fortunate to hire the right kind of people and together we always stand behind the work we do.”
In December, 2010, Hendershot bought a second business and plans to open what was formerly the Beatty Garage in Warfordsburg later this year.
More than 130 attended the chamber’s annual banquet at the McConnellsburg Firehall. The dinner also celebrated the 60th anniversary of the chamber. The event was sponsored by Community State Bank, also celebrating its 60th anniversary. The local branch bank has been open for two years.