Community Awards night recognizes impacts in area
By Ginna Young
Area businesses and individuals should be recognized, for the time and effort they put into making their communities a success. To help with that recognition, the Cornell Area Betterment Association (CABA) hosted an awards night Oct. 29, at Foster’s Riverview Inn in Cornell.
Six awards were handed out, with businesses/individuals nominated by community members and voted on by members of CABA. Award winners were treated to a night of camaraderie and a meal, courtesy of CABA.
First up, was the New Venture of the Year, which was presented to Hey Everything. The store has been in business for more than a year, with owner Mark Naas providing expanded hours and stock, as the name implies.
“We’re so thankful Mark decided to take over the hardware store and make it his own,” said Jackie Russell, CABA vice president. “You can always find a smiling face to help you find whatever you’re looking for.”
Although he couldn’t be present, Naas says he is grateful to CABA for putting on the awards night and says everyone at the store works hard.
“We hope that we can get it (store) stocked to better serve the Cornell and Holcombe area,” said Naas.
Receiving the Business of the Year, was Mule-Hide Manufacturing, a paper mill that has been in Cornell for 108 years, providing first roofing materials and now packaging and insulation facing papers.
“We keep 60,000 tons of paper out of the landfill every year,” said Sheri Scheidler, general manager. “We’re very proud of that. We make something out of what would otherwise be buried underground.”
The 2019 recipient for the Civic Organization of the Year, was the Cornell Food Pantry. Wendy Mittermeyer, CABA member, says the staff of the food distribution center work hard to ensure community members don’t go hungry. The pantry also partners with the elementary school to provide weekend bags for low-income students to take home.
Mittermeyer said she is grateful for what the staff provides and that she felt warmly welcomed at the pantry’s recent open house.
“It’s a wonderful group of people to work with and we’re so thankful for all the generosity of the community,” said food pantry volunteer Deb Elertson.
Volunteer of the Year was next on the list to be handed out, something CABA president Kristine Hemenway did with high emotions. Receiving the award, was Kathy Swanson, a person Hemenway counts as near and dear, and a great help to her with the Community Education program.
“Anything that’s going on in the community, she is there to offer a helping hand,” said Hemenway. “She is not afraid to give financially. She does not ever want recognition.”
Hemenway said Swanson has a heart of gold and that people see the contributions she’s made to her community.
“I’ll try better to hide,” said Swanson. “If I see something that needs doing, I try to take care of it.”
It was Hemenway’s turn after that, as she received Community Leader of the Year, presented by CABA member Katie Matott. Matott said Hemenway took on the Community Education directorship with open arms, tackling a lot of things that needed to be done in the position, as well as many extra duties.
“It’s all been a learning experience for me and I love learning new things,” said Hemenway. “Hopefully, I can continue to be a contributing member of the community.”
To finish out the night, Julie Kosher presented the Legacy Award to Jenny Blaisdell. Blaisdell has been the Cornell-Lake Holcombe 21st Century Community Learning Center family education coordinator for 17 years. Hired by Kosher, Blaisdell’s job is to develop and implement academic enrichment opportunities for students enrolled in after-school.
“Jenny does so much more than this,” said Kosher. “She Community Awards
truly serves all the children and families, of Cornell and Holcombe. Jenny’s very deserving of this recognition. Do I know how to hire them, or what?”
Blaisdell, who at first thought to decline the award, because she felt there are others who should be recognized, accepted the award from her longtime friend.
“I do appreciate it,” said Blaisdell. “It’s not about me…it takes an army, it takes a village and nothing that I’ve done, I could do without the people that support me.”
In only its second year, the awards night will be an annual happening, with Hemenway encouraging people to keep their eyes open to those who have made an impact in the area.
“We have a wonderful community and the outlying communities, as well, that make this a pretty special place to live and to work.”