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Springville Area Chamber of Commerce awards citizen, business and organization of the year

A GREAT COLLABORATION — Springville Mayor William Krebs and SACC President David Field are pictured, recognizing former Director Kate Moody for her years of service to the chamber.
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual gala on April 27, to recognize Grover Riefler as the citizen of the year, Oasis Bed and Breakfast as the outstanding business of the year and Bertrand Chaffee Hospital as the organization of the year.

President David Field opened the evening by addressing the assembled SACC members, local business owners and others, about the partnership between the chamber, local businesspeople and government.

“The economic power of our community is dependent on that partnership,” Field said.

The president also recognized the SACC’s new director, Erika Thurkins and its new assistant director, Deb Gernatt.

“With new staff comes new ideas,” Field said. “The future is bright, for the chamber of commerce. We look forward to working with you, as we meet the challenges ahead, in the coming year.”

EXPOSING SPRINGVILLE TO THE WORLD — The Oasis Bed & Breakfast, owned and operated by Jeanne Ellis (pictured) was named the outstanding business of the year, by the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce. Photos by Jessie Owen.

Field also invited Springville Mayor William Krebs to help recognize outgoing SACC President Kate Moody for her years of service.

“That collaboration and partnership is so necessary to move this community along,” Krebs said, noting Moody’s involvement in the reopening of the high-level bridge on Route 219, the installation of the gateway sign and the ongoing overhead banner project, in the downtown business district.

He also noted that Moody had been instrumental in the formation of the Springville Downtown Economic Development Group and in getting the New York state Main Street grant, which the village ended up administering.

“A lot of elected officials are going to try to take credit for the economic stimulus coming down to Springville,” he said. The mayor noted that 16 local businesses will receive $1.3 million in aid.

“Kate has been an instrumental motivator. Many years ago, she gave me some advice. Everybody in a partnership has to know the limits of everybody else,” he said. “You have to listen and help communication along. [Kate] also told me that I have to understand that entrepreneurs have big personalities. They have to have drive and motivation, to make the business work.”

Moody accepted a gift from the chamber and thanked both Field and Krebs for their kind words.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you,” she said, of the SACC officials, board of directors and members. “There’s lots of great momentum [in Springville], great energy and great things to come. Watch: You’re going to be amazed.”

A MAN OF OPPORTUNITY — SACC President David Field, Springville Mayor William Krebs and Concord Supervisor Gary Eppolito present Grover Riefler (second from left) with the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award.

Mike Basehart spoke on behalf of Grover Riefler, the SACC citizen of the year. “A great author once said, ‘A great man is one sentence.’ This great man can be summed up, in one sentence: He gets things done,” Basehart said, of Riefler.

“I first met Grover a year and a half ago, when we were transitioning the part-time Boys & Girls Club into a full-time facility. I talked to Carl Emerling who said that there were two guys who were killing themselves: Phil Collesano and Grover Riefler,” he said.

Basehart added that Riefler had been personally responsible for knocking down walls, pouring and chiseling concrete and that “Without these two guys, the [Boys & Girls Club construction project] would never have been completed.

“You’ve been phenomenal,” Basehart said, to Riefler. “We always say we want people’s time, treasure and talent. You gave all of that. Grover said to me once, that if I could keep one kid away from the streets, during those critical hours, and away from the dangers of drugs and alcohol, I’ve done my job.’ There are now going to be thousands of kids who will reap the benefits of your efforts.”

JEWEL ON THE HILL — Nils Gunnersen, CEO of Bertrand Chaffee Hospital, is pictured, accepting the Outstanding Organization of the Year Award for the hospital.

Krebs presented Riefler with a proclamation from the village of Springville, “to a man who has truly made a difference to the entire community,” in recognition of his efforts.

Riefler thanked Basehart for his comments, and his help with the B&G project. “If it wasn’t for Mike and Phil, I wouldn’t be here. Those two guys really made it happen, as much as or more so than myself.”

“My wife and I came, 50 years ago, from Hamburg and South Buffalo, to Springville. Springville isn’t just a great community. It’s the great community. If it wasn’t for the chamber and my wife standing behind me, I wouldn’t have amounted to much of anything. Thank you, to each and every one of you.”

Jan Carroll introduced Oasis Bed and Breakfast as the outstanding business of the year.

“It boasts a guest list from around the world,” Carroll said, of the bed and breakfast. Owner Jeanne Ellis also started Springville’s annual Oktoberfest event, which brings “Thousands of tourism dollars to the area, which is really a big deal,” according to Carroll.

Ellis said that the support she has found for her business, in Springville, has been “awesome.

“A lot of people said, ‘Who goes to a B and B in Springville?’ Well, my first guest was a horticulturist from Cornell. My second was coming to see a famous horse trainer in the area and my third were people who got lost. So that’s who comes to a bed and breakfast in Springville.

“It’s amazing, what Springville has to offer,” Ellis continued. “We have a lot of couples who get their parents to watch the baby, walk down to the inn, stay the night and walk home. It’s been great. Everybody thinks Springville is a great community. Living in the same house my husband grew up in is really, really special. I so appreciate the recognition from the community, with this award. It’s amazing.”

Ellis was presented a proclamation from Krebs, on behalf of the village of Springville, in recognition of her business.

Ann Cooper, a member of the board of directors for Bertrand Chaffee Hospital, said that she did not know much about the hospital, when she first joined the board.

“I found an unbelievable group of people who are dedicated to the hospital and dedicated to turning around the hospital into a second-to-none facility, for the people of Springville, right here, in our hometown,” she said.

“Thanks to the enhanced effort, with the hospital’s foundation, we are working toward continued fiscal stability. It’s unbelievable, what’s happened to the hospital. We are blessed to have this hospital not only in the community, but a part of the community and we have lots to look forward to, in the future.”

Town of Concord Supervisor Gary Eppolito said, of BCH, that “a lot of time and effort goes into this jewel on the hill. It truly is a jewel on the hill. This is a very well-deserved reward.”

Eppolito presented a proclamation from the town of Concord to BCH CEO Nils Gunnersen.

“As an organization, the hospital is a the sum of many parts,” Gunnersen said, recognizing members of his staff and the board of directors, as individuals who have helped the hospital, along the way.

“We offer lots of services, with the hope and the intent that the community supports us being here. We are part of the community, and hope they take advantage of us, as a resource.

“I am pleased to work with so many wonderful people, to keep the hospital open, for Springville and the surrounding community.”

The event also featured a silent auction, with prizes donated by local businesses and organizations, as well as a bar in a barrel raffle.

Nels Ross Cremean of In Jest Inc. provided entertainment, for the evening.
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