Chamber to Honor Individuals and Businesses in Virtual Awards Event


The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the recipients of its annual awards, to be presented for the first time in a Virtual Awards Ceremony to be held October 8.

This year the County Chamber will bestow its Economic Development Award on The Chautauqua Center,
and the Person(s) of the Year Award will go to the Small Business Revolution Committee in Fredonia and the businesses selected for Season 5.

The Economic Development Award is presented to a company or organization that has contributed most to the economic development, quality of life and stability of our region.  This represents one award for the entire region. The Chautauqua Center has grown enormously since it opened its first small site in Dunkirk in 2013 to now offer three locations in Dunkirk and a brand-new building in Jamestown’s medical corridor. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, The Chautauqua Center offers a broad array of services including primary care, pediatric care, dental, behavioral health, and more. Its growing list of employees includes people across all ranges of the medical spectrum including doctors, dentists, nurses, and numerous other clinicians. In the past six months The Chautauqua Center also stepped forward to provide local COVID testing sites to serve the community.

The Person of the Year Award will be presented to a large group this year. Late in 2019 a group of Fredonia business and community leaders and municipal officials came together to help promote the village for an opportunity to be selected for a $500,000 local investment and to be featured on Season 5 of the Small Business Revolution. The Small Business Revolution, a production of Deluxe, selected Fredonia as part of a group of 10 communities from across the United States, for consideration to be in the program. Following a visit to the community by Deluxe, Fredonia made the top five list of finalists which was then followed by a week-long community voting period. The local community and the region turned out in a big way to support the effort. The committee was chaired by Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek, with extraordinary effort by all involved. Through social media, local signage, local and regional press opportunities, and word of mouth, Fredonia won the distinction and several local businesses were chosen for physical, financial, and marketing makeovers as part of Season 5. Small Business Revolution founder Amanda Brinkman walked onto the Fredonia Opera House stage in late January to make the announcement. Filming of Season 5 began in March, and despite some challenges posted by COVID-19, the renovation and production work continued. The Small Business Revolution, Season 5 is now being completed in post-production and will be rolled out in November. We salute all the people who worked to bring the Small Business Revolution to Fredonia this year.

Each of the six community Chambers of Commerce presents a Community Service Award during the Chamber Banquet.

The Dunkirk Community Chamber has selected Roberto Fred of Fred Farms for its award this year. Mr. Fred and his family have been part of the fabric of the Dunkirk community for decades, and as the farm has grown have provided both employment to local people and fruits, vegetables and more for local tables through local farm markets.

The Fredonia Community Chamber has selected Michele Joy for its Community Service Award. A local busines owner, she has been active in the Fredonia Community Chamber currently serving as President, is active in Festival Fredonia and played a significant role in the success of Fredonia being chosen to be in the Small Business Revolution Season 5.

Betty Valvo has been selected to receive the Community Service Award from the Hanover Community Chamber in recognition of her family’s years of service through Valvo’s Candies and Gifts. She and her late husband Joe represent the second generation of operators for the iconic Route 5 business, which is now run by their children.

The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce has chosen Russ and June Diethrick for the Community Service Award. The couple has been involved in numerous community programs for decades, both together and individually. Russ has been Jamestown’s “Mr. Baseball” bringing more than 40 years of Babe Ruth World Series competitions to Jamestown as well as his active involvement in professional baseball and the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. June’s work with the Marvin Community House and Inter-Club Council have been exemplary.

The Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber is honoring Burl Swanson. He has been a member of the ice castle construction crew, Fourth of July Committee, an instructor at the Children’s Safety Village, and a long-time member and Chief of the Dewittville Volunteer Fire Department.

The Westfield-Barcelona Community Chamber is presenting its Community Service Award to James Ruch. Known as “Shaggy” to his friends, he has volunteered for the Chamber’s First Friday events, YWCA Arts & Crafts Market, Lake Shore Center for the Arts, Westfield Community Kitchen, and much more.
We invite the entire community to help us in saluting these deserving award recipients during the Chamber’s first ever Virtual Awards Banquet, which will be held at 6pm, Thursday, October 8. You can learn more through our online events calendar at

This event is sponsored this year by Community Bank, County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, DFT Communications, Lawley Insurance, Media One Group Radio, National Grid, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and by Digitell, Inc., which is providing valuable technical resources to help us stream this event live for all of our award recipients and guests. You can learn more at