CLEARFIELD – Wednesday night local citizens gathered for the annual Greater Clearfield Chamber of Commerce awards banquet, honoring local businesses and residents for their contributions to the community.
There were six awards presented this year, from the Director’s Choice award to the Shining Star, Small Business of the Year, Major Employer of the Year, Distinguished Citizen and Lifetime Achievement.
Emcees for the evening were board members Mason Strouse and Ryan Sayers. Sayers began by briefly talking about the chamber’s Exploring Program for students just prior to entering high school.
Sayers, program chairman, explained that the program gives students the opportunity to learn about job opportunities and careers available to them right here in Clearfield County.
He said it is a chance to tell the kids that they can find a job with a sustaining wage and don’t necessarily need a college education.
Currently the schools participating include Clearfield, Curwensville, St. Francis, Moshannon Valley and, next year, they hope to include West Branch.
The first award, Director’s Choice, was presented by Chamber Director Kim Bloom. Bloom chose Terry Wigfield, executive director of Clearfield EMS. Bloom noted that Clearfield EMS is one of the best in the county and is on the leading edge of its field.
Among Wigfield’s many accomplishments are his support and love for the community, serving on borough council and as fire chief as well as working for Clearfield EMS for 25 years, making the company a state-of-the-art emergency response facility.
The Shining Star Award is presented to a business, which has made physical improvement to an existing building made in the past year, adding value to the community.
This year’s winner is Beardsley’s Funeral Home and Crematory. Beardsley’s has recently renovated the exterior of the funeral home in Clearfield and added a crematory to the rear of the building, putting everything under one roof.
Work has included new landscaping, painting, signs and more utilizing all local contractors.
Small Business of the Year is presented to a business employing less than 50 people, in business for at least five years and that supports the chamber and community. This year’s winner is Curwensville’s first supermarket, Goodman’s Foodliner.
Opening in February of 1962, Goodman’s has been family-owned and operated for over 50 years.
Currently operated by Diane and Dean Holland, daughter and son-in-law of Dorcey and Carole Michaels, the store boasts several employees who have been there for over 30 years.
Goodman’s offers personal services such as grocery bagging and carry out to your car as well as delivery service. The store also supports youth sports and many other community causes and events.
Major Employer of the Year goes to a business, which employs more than 50 people, has been in business for at least five years and supports the chamber and community.
This year’s Major Employer is Clearfield Area School District, which instructs 2,100 students from a district encompassing 345 square miles and employs nearly 500 personnel and contracted employees.
It was noted that students at the Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School know that education is more than what happens in the classroom, as they’re participating in community events and service projects throughout the year. Students also have the opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree before graduation.
Distinguished Citizen of the Year is someone whose achievements place them above their peers, is community minded, does not look for recognition and whose major accomplishments have been done within the past two years.
Kathleen Gillespie, chief executive officer of Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging has a long record of avocation for the elderly and disabled in the community. She helped with the creation of the first secure dementia unit in the state as well as spearheading the first elder cottage in Pennsylvania.
Recently Gillespie has been part of the creation of Village of Hope at the former Girard-Goshen Elementary School in LeContes Mills, an inclusive community where those with dementia and other cognitive impairments can continue to live independently while aging with dignity.
The final award, Lifetime Achievement, is given to someone whose accomplishments include community involvement and public service over their lifetime.
This year, the award was presented to two people, James ad Donna Malloy, founders of Jim’s Sports Center.
The first location opened on Third Street on April 1, 1970 as Jim’s Sports and Hobby Store. Over the years the store expanded, selling the craft and hobby portions and adding bicycles and screen printing, eventually moving to Second Street in 1989.
The store currently has 20 employees and the Malloy family has sponsored and supported local sports teams and non-profit organizations as well as being a major part of the Clearfield community, serving generations of customers for nearly 50 years.