Chamber Recognizes Four At Awards Banquet
Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism members and friends gathered over the weekend to honor their own as part of the annual banquet and awards ceremony held at the Mc- Connellsburg Firehall. Taking home top honors Saturday night were Person of the Year Pete Lynch, Outstanding Citizen Harry D. Johnston, D.O., community service award recipient Rosalind Klinepeter and Eddy’s Engraving & Gifts for their excellence in small business.
McConnellsburg resident Loy Garber told the crowd on hand that a doctor is a definitely a caregiver, healer and one who makes every effort to ease a person’s pain. Here in Fulton County, a physician is also thought of as a trusted and extended family member, Garber said.
“My question is can a rural, country doctor be an outstanding citizen?” asked Garber in the moments prior to bestowing the Outstanding Citizen award on Dr. Harry D. Johnston. In 1969, Johnston was touted as having made the right decision to return to Fulton County to open his practice the following year. Over the years, Garber said, Johnston took an interest in all of the individuals he came in contact with, paying special attention to their concerns, medical treatment and everyday issues.
“Dr. Johnston was not running a medical assembly line. He was taking time to be a very personable caregiver. He was taking the time to establish and maintain personal relationships and show concern for all of his fellow citizens,” stated Garber, who added that after hours Johnston could be seen out and about in the community as a member of The First National
Noting it was quite an honor to receive the Outstanding Citizen award, Johnston provided some personal insight, one that brought him home to Fulton County in the late 1960s. Growing up in his father’s store prepared him for the task of being a country doctor, said Johnston, who went on to discuss how the county’s 911 system was formed, the funding of much-needed, state-of-the-art hospital equipment, his staff and specialty physicians.
“Changing rural America. Changing rural medicine,” said Johnston. “I’m probably one of the last of few rural family doctors still in practice ... . When Dr. William Milroth and I are gone, that’s the end of what we know as rural medicine. I’ve enjoyed every bit of it ... . Life is full of choices, and I feel I made the right choice.”
McConnellsburg Volunteer Fire Co. official Rodney Mellott stood before the crowd Saturday to honor fellow member and company Chief Larry “Pete” Lynch as Person of the Year for his years of unselfish dedication to the company and surrounding community. Mellott said he has known Lynch for over 30 years and is “proud to call him friend.” Having served with the company since the early 1970s, Mellott and Lynch grew up in a different time with mentors that included their own fathers.
“Back then when you messed up, you got a huge chewing out by those people. The nice thing about it was it was forgotten about the next day ... We’ve been through a lot together. We shared our ups, downs, joys and sorrows, but through it all we have remained close friends,” said Mellott, who noted in today’s society volunteerism has practically become a thing of the past. “From the time he was 18 years old and could join the fire department, he (Lynch) has dedicated his life to helping others in need ... . It’s in his blood. A son had no choice but to follow in a father’s footsteps ... .”
Lynch was touted as having worked his way up through the ranks from firefighter to lieutenant to assistant fire chief to his current title of fire chief. “He (Lynch) has been the driving force in all that we have achieved in the last 25 years,” stated Mellott, listing a plethora of equipment, service and facility upgrades.
In dedicating the award to those who have stood by him, Lynch recognized his friends, family and fellow firefighters and noted as a child he would watch his father go up the back alley from their McConnellsburg home to answer a distress call. “I’ve had some real fine mentors ... . They were by my side growing up to where I am now. They all had a dream which is now almost complete. We have a new building and a parking lot ... .”
“Over the past 50 years there have been a lot of challenges for the fire company. The support from the community has been overwhelming and I hope that will continue. One of the greatest satisfactions you get from doing a job like this is just a thank-you and a good job,” he added.
Recognized for her special touch on the lives of many, Rosalind Klinepeter was brought to the podium by Community Service Award presenter Todd Alexander. Klinepeter, according to Alexander, is a native of southern Fulton County and 1970 graduate of the Poly Clinic School of Nursing, 1994 graduate of St. Joseph’s College and received her midwifery certification in 2000. Her official career in healthcare, coincidentally, began as a candy striper at the Fulton County Medical Center. Over the years Klinepeter moved on to assume various roles such as director of nursing, ER staff nurse and, most recently, proud owner of Countrycare Midwifery.
“Only the strongest and most special bonds can survive the schedule Rosie has kept over the course of her career,” said Alexander, who referred to himself as a frequent flyer with Rosie’s services with four sons being born over a five-year period. “In a world where healthcare is increasingly impersonal, it’s about margins and insurance coverage and reimbursements, Rosie is the shining light to what healthcare used to be and should be.”
Thanking the chamber as well as the nominating committee for the award, Klinepeter went on to give a special thanks to her office and nursing staff as well as countless family members, especially her mother, who has given words of encouragement and kept her awake on many nights driving home.
Excellence In Small Business
Providing years of service to the community, Wyn and Inez Eddy of Eddy’s Engraving & Gifts received the coveted Excellence in Small Business award from award presenter and Beta Sigma Phi sorority sister Doris Smith. Having relocated to the area many years ago, the Eddys were referred to by Smith as being charitable, hardworking and deeply caring in every aspect of their life. “Their business has been a real asset to our community because they filled a need for all types of engraving name plates, picture frames and plaques ... . Before they came here, folks had to drive to Chambersburg for recognition plaques and so forth.”
Smith said one of the reasons behind the Eddys’ success is their desire to please their customers. “For the Eddys, nothing is too much trouble. If it means staying up late at night to finish an order, they’ll do that,” Smith stated. “If they have to redo something, that’s no trouble. If you need something special, they’ll try their best to find it ... . Everything they do is with the customer in mind.”
With encouragement from some close friends and the purchase of a small engraving machine, their business became a reality, Inez told the crowd. Many years later, the business relocated to McConnellsburg and blossomed. “Fulton County is now home for us. It’s where we are the happiest. We have the world’s best customers ... JLG is our biggest customer, and the fire companies are our favorite customer ... . Wyn and I so appreciate the honor you’ve given us tonight,” she concluded.