It is not everyone who gets to eat dinner in the same room as an Olympic gold medalist. Those in attendance at the annual Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet were able to say they have.
Gold medalist Jenn Suhr was in attendance for the annual banquet which honored eight award winners. A video of Suhr winning the gold medal in London was shown. As part of the video, Suhr talked about the emotions she felt winning the gold medal as well as talking about the training she had to endure. She also talked about the community in Fredonia and the county supporting her.
"There was so many people here that wanted to be a part of this and that supported me," she said.
Many attended the annual chamber banquet and award ceremony in the newly renovated Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia.
Suhr talked about the time she spent growing up in Fredonia and after work she would pole vault.
"Working at my father's store ... we'd get up together, drive over and open. At 2 o'clock I would go pole vault," Suhr said.
She compared pole vaulting to being mechanical and robotic, that she didn't feel emotion until after her win.
"I think that's why I cried so much (winning the gold)," Suhr said.
The keynote speaker for the event was SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Horvath who welcomed the audience to the newly renovated Williams Center as well as congratulating the award winners.
"Congratulations to those who will be recognized tonight," Horvath said.
Horvath went on to speak how universities have changed and how students are helping out more within the communities. Horvath described how students have opportunities to volunteer in the community through the college and service learning courses, which allow students to take what they learn in the classroom into real world service opportunities. All of the individual award winners from the various chambers were all highly involved in community service.
Award winners for the evening were Chamber member wineries in Lake Erie Wine Country - 21 Brix Winery, Johnson Estate Winery, Liberty Vineyards & Winery, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars, Merritt Estate Winery, Noble Vineyards, Willow Creek Winery and Woodbury Vineyards - for the Economic Development Award; Dr. Gregory DeCinque was named as Person of the Year; Roosevelt and LaPearl Haynes, Dunkirk; Roberta Coniglio, Fredonia; John Bauer, Jamestown; Boy Scout Troop 126, Mayville/Chautauqua; Sue Briggs, Silver Creek/Irving; and Alan Holbrook, Westfield/Barcelona.