DUBOIS -The Lakeview Lodge at Treasure Lake, DuBois, was the site of the annual DuBois Chamber of Commerce Business Bash Saturday night.
The Chamber made presentations of the 2022 awards for Small Business of the Year, Community Cup, and, new this year, Greater Good.
In addition to members of the chamber, friends and family gathered to honor the recipients of each award, and Director Jodi August thanked everyone for their support and participation, especially Community Leader Sponsor Comcast Business.
The 2022 Small Business of the Year Award was presented this year to Calliari’s Bakery.
Dana Smith, presenter, noted that the Calliari family doesn’t like to “toot their own horn” very much, but it doesn’t take long to learn what the bakery and the family mean to the DuBois community.
“I get weak in the knees whenever my wife and I decide to order their hoagies,” Smith said, a sentiment echoed by others throughout the evening, especially regarding the freshly-baked bread.
Brad and Sue Calliari started the business in 1986 and currently have five full-time employees and six part-time.
Smith said he talked with their daughter Alicia, who quit her job to come and work for the family, which says more than he could on his own.
He spoke about donations made to numerous organizations, including Toys for Tots, Boy Scouts of America and more.
Quilts and blankets are made for nursing home residents; Brad went door to door with deliveries to the elderly during COVID-19; they prepare special meals for those who have lost loved ones; and many monetary donations are made without ever expecting anything in return.
“One thing I observed,” said Smith, “everyone has a smile on their face when talking about them.”
When accepting the award, Brad Calliari thanked each staff member by name as well as his family and community, stating they couldn’t do what they do without them and they are very honored.
Smith then presented the 2022 Community Cup Award to First Class Children’s Foundation.
Information regarding First Class was presented by both Smith and founder Matt Reed.
The non-profit was founded in 2017 and Reed said he was inspired to start helping students and at first raised money for supplies for teachers, then he got the idea for Imagination Boxes, each of which are a special box of school supplies, three books chosen by the student, candy and a comic.
Sponsored by Scholastic, every student in all four DuBois elementary schools has received a box, and they are each encouraged to take this ultimate act of kindness and pay it forward.
The foundation has also installed book vending machines in two of the schools with plans to expand. When a student is caught doing something good, they are given a golden token good for a book from the vending machine, also sponsored by Scholastic.
This Christmas Legendary Boxes were delivered to children of single parents with $200 worth of Christmas gifts.
The Kicks program for middle school students was started when Reed spoke with the superintendent and learned about kids who need shoes that fit well and are in good condition.
Kicks provides these students with high-end Nike or Converse sneakers, which help to instill a sense of confidence and self-worth, and so far 270 sneakers have been given and the program is being expanded to the high school, along with the Ripple Effect program to encourage students to perform random acts of kindness in their community.
Money for the programs is raised through several different car show events throughout the year as well as through generous donations from the community.
“Educators are the real heroes of our community,” Reed said.
The Inaugural Greater Good Award, recognizing volunteering and community service fulfilling a need for the community, was presented by Bob Javens to the DuBois Area Honor Guard.
Javens spoke about how the honor guard attends the funeral and memorial services for local veterans as well as providing Veterans Day programs at schools and nursing homes and leading the annual Community Days parade.
Commander Denny Knarr said their focus is on helping families through the most difficult times as well as helping veterans and their community.
He said it is vital to remember and honor our veterans, adding that they wish they could do more events in the schools and teach children.
“We have to make our young folks understand,” Knarr said, “Freedom isn’t free—there is a price paid.”
After Knarr’s remarks, the Honor Guard received a standing ovation from the audience and many thanks from the people throughout the evening.
Finally, the DuBois Area Jaycees Distinguished Service Award was presented by President Kyle Kunes to Craig Hall.
Kunes spoke of the many ways Hall has served his community, through the Boy Scouts, helping organizations with financial advising, volunteering and more
This September Hall will be celebrating 34 years of marriage with Mara, whom Hall referred to as “my rock.”
He thanked all the people who have been there and helped him along the way, for the great memories and great friendships and encouraged everyone to keep volunteering or step up and start.