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BCT earns business award; ‘Distinguished Citizen’ named

By Staff | Jun 30, 2017

Photos by Toni Milbourne Christine Snyder, managing editor of the Spirit of Jefferson, joins Chamber President Amy Panzarella in presenting Ed Herendeen with the Chuck Ellison Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award.

It was a night of honors as the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce gathered at the Bavarian Inn for their 58th annual Chamber Celebration. Held each June, the event is held to recognize new Chamber members and to specifically honor the recipient of the George E. Vickers Business Award. It is also the venue which allows for the naming of the Distinguished Citizen of the Year for Jefferson County.

A sold-out crowd joined in the event, which saw the renaming of the Jefferson County Distinguished Citizen Award to the Chuck Ellison Distinguished Citizen Award.

Chamber President Amy Panzarella announced the change prior to the presentation of this year’s award.

“I knew a person who walked the walk without expecting anything in return,” she said. “To Chuck Ellison serving his community was like breathing,” Panzarella continued.

Ellison passed away on Jan. 1, 2017, leaving an empty place at the Chamber Board of Directors’ table. He was also Chair of the United Way for 2016 and involved in numerous other community endeavors.

The Bank of Charles Town was honored with the George E. Vickers Business Award. Many of their employees turned out to celebrate the honor.

“We as a Chamber tried to think of some way to honor his memory and legacy, but nothing seemed adequate,” Panzarella told the audience. “But one way was to rename the Distinguished Citizen Award the Chuck Ellison Distinguished Citizen Award.”

Christine Snyder, managing editor of The Spirit of Jefferson, who sponsors the award annually, proudly presented the first Chuck Ellison award.

“It is nice to share good news and recognize someone who has made such a contribution in his almost 30 years here,” Snyder said. Without revealing the recipient, Snyder continued by saying, “His commitment to work and play is shown through his flagship creation that has had a $2 million impact economically.”

She then announced Ed Hernedeen, creator of the Contemporary American Theater Festival, as this year’s selected winner.

Herendeen, who said that he thought he was invited to speak at the dinner about the upcoming Festival, was taken by surprise.

“I’ve only lived in Shepherdstown for 27 years, so I’m a relative newcomer,” he joked. “But,” he continued, “It’s my passion to create the future of American theater with the newest plays in the oldest town. The future of American theater spends the summer in Shepherdstown,” he concluded.

Following the Distinguished Citizen presentation, Panzarella announced the business earning the George E. Vickers Business Award.

The Bank of Charles Town, established April 4, 1871, in Charles Town, earned the top honor. The locally owned bank has seven branches, three of which are in Jefferson County. The business, Panzarella shared, has five key principals: Integrity, Teamwork, Growth, Customer Commitment and Community Focus.

Accepting on behalf of the bank was Senior Vice President Dean Cognetti, who said that the spectacular honor belongs to all at the bank.

“It takes a community to earn this,” Cognetti said. “It takes a community to place trust in the bank.”

Cognetti went on to say, “Our core values are simply a focus on customers, shareholders, staff and the community.” He thanked the community for the trust placed in the bank since 1871.

The vice president took a moment to introduce the new CEO of the bank, Alice Frazier. He also took the opportunity to speak about former CEO Bob Baronner who passed away in January of this year.

“Bob was CEO for 16 years, through tough times. We would not be here had it not been for Bob’s leadership,” Cognetti said. “He is smiling down on us and still reminding us to ‘take care of the customers.'”