Miller, Gordon Receive Chamber Top Honors
The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism held its 2011 Celebration of Excellence and Distinction awards banquet Saturday evening and recognized five community members for their contributions to Fulton County. This year’s banquet included one surprise award at the evening’s end.
Dick Miller, a past president of the local Historical Society, was honored as Person of the Year by the chamber. He was recognized for his contributions to the restoration of several buildings in McConnellsburg as well as for his work with the Historical Society.
Miller was presented the award by Glenn Cordell, a Historical Society colleague, who recalled “long ago listening to Dick sing on WCBG radio on Sunday mornings.”
A graduate of McConnellsburg High School, Miller went on to serve 30 years as a U.S. Postal Service employee who was recognized for driving a million miles without having a preventable accident. At the time of the award, he was only the 65th person to ever receive the honor.
Miller played a role in the restoration of St. Paul Lutheran Church, which was built in 1848. He also oversaw the repointing of the masonry work at the Futlon House. And recently, he, along with other Historical Society members, have worked to raise funds to renovate the exterior of the county jail. Miller served six years as president of the Historical Society.
He collects antiques and no story about Miller would be complete with mentioning his beloved 1916 Chevy touring car for which he has won 175 trophies in car shows. The car was sold new in Fulton County and has never left the county. For many years he collected Griswold cast-iron cookware and served as the vice president of the national organization. In 1995, he won a national award for having the best and most complete Griswold collection.
Miller is married to the former Esther McQuade and they reside on the Crossroads near Mc- Connellsburg. They have been married for more than 50 years and are the parents of four children, all of whom were in attendance at the awards ceremony.
In accepting the award, Miller spoke fondly of his grandparents, who raised him, and he talked about his love for his family. He ended his acceptance speech by saying that most people have mentors in their life that they can name. “My mentor has always been Jesus Christ,” he said.
The Outstanding Citizen Award was presented to Brenda Gordon by Helen Overly, who is also a past recipient of both the “Person of the Year” and the Outstanding Citizen awards.
Calling Gordon “a very special lady,” Helen talked to many of Gordon’s friends and related what they had to say about her. The comments included hard-working, generous, good-natured, loyal, a natural leader who never criticizes, upbeat and positive and fun-loving. She has three children as well as grandchildren.
Gordon has spent 40 years in the banking business. She began work after high school at the United Telephone Co. in Chambersburg, but soon obtained a position as secretary to Lyle Duffey at the former First National Bank of McConnellsburg. At that time, the bank had nine employees, but later grew to 59 employees. Although she left the bank to raise her children, she returned and in 1986 was promoted to vice president and head of the loan department. She then became the bank’s compliance officer before her job was eliminated through one of the bank’s many mergers. She now serves as the financial services office manager at the Penn’s Village branch of F&M Trust in McConnellsburg.
Overly recounted Gordon’s many years of community service, which included serving on the Southern Alleghenies PIC and WIB boards; the school to work initiative; assisting with the library fundraiser; and many years of service to the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. She joined the chamber in 1994 and served as president of the board from 2003- 2005. She has also consistently volunteered to organize and help at the Strawberry Festival. Currently she serves as the chamber’s volunteer executive director. In giving the award, Overly quoted Gordon’s mother, Ruth Lynch, who said, “She’s done me proud.” Overly added, “And that goes for all of us.”
Gordon accepted the award and “thanked everyone who, through the years, helped me to develop a sense of community.” She also recognized her husband, Doug, calling him “my fishing buddy.” She and her husband reside in McConnellsburg.
This year’s Community Service Award was presented to Pete Hall by his friend, Damon Schoen. Hall received the award for his dedication to sports in the Forbes Road School District. In giving the award to his friend, Schoen said, “It takes great energy to do something well and Pete Hall does great things.” Hall, a baseball player himself who excelled in sports while attending Forbes Road, spends hours volunteering to work with kids in Little League as well as in all school sports. Completely dedicated to the Cardinals, Schoen said Hall can always be counted on to know what’s going on with the teams.
In accepting the award from his friend, Hall said, “I thought who better to convince the crowd that a washed-up baseball player would be worthy of this award than a used-car salesman (in reference to Schoen)?” Hall shared several Little League stories and ended by saying, “It’s really just all about parents supporting kids.” Hall is married and he and his wife, Michelle, have two children. They reside in the Hustontown area. He is employed by Palmer Construction.
Excellence in Small Business
Bill Palmer presented the Excellence in Small Business Award to his mother, Betty Palmer, the founder of Palmer Realty. Palmer was the first realtor in Fulton County and has been in business for 45 years. Today she has offices in Franklin, Fulton and Huntingdon counties. Betty accepted the award on behalf of her eight agents, most of whom were in attendance. She made special mention of her niece and also an agent, Della Rae Austin, saying, “Without her, there would be no Palmer Realty.” Palmer said she has always done business by one guiding principle – “integrity and fairness in all dealings.”
The evening ended with a surprise award given to Clyde Bookheimer in recognition of his many years of service to the chamber and to the community. Bookheimer has been a chamber member for more than 50 years.
More than 200 attended the chamber’s annual banquet at the McConnellsburg Firehall. The dinner celebrated the 60th anniversary of the chamber, and all past award recipients and past chamber board members were invited and were asked to stand and be recognized. The event was sponsored by Jack and Susan Glazier, owners of Tri State Vehicles, G and P Distributors and Ad-Pro’s. Chamber President Dwight Washabaugh served as master of ceremonies for the evening.