Greater Churchville-Riga Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner recognizes community members

By on March 20, 2017
Greater Churchville-Riga Chamber of Commerce Awards Winners (l to r):  Peggy Naughton, Business Person of the Year; Denise Haggerty of Wilkins RV, Civic Beautification Award; Kathleen Stephany, Citizen of the Year. Not pictured:  Sue Davis, Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year. K. Gabalski photo

Greater Churchville-Riga Chamber of Commerce Awards Winners (l to r): Peggy Naughton, Business Person of the Year; Denise Haggerty of Wilkins RV, Civic Beautification Award; Kathleen Stephany, Citizen of the Year. Not pictured: Sue Davis, Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year. K. Gabalski photo

our Churchville-Riga community members were honored March 9 during the annual Greater Churchville-Riga Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner held at Naughton’s Johnson House in Churchville.

Long-time Johnson House owner Peggy Naughton received the Business Person of the Year Award. “Thank-you,” Peggy said in receiving the award.  “It is almost too much for me to accept.  Me and my husband put a lot of love and work into this place.”

Peggy and her late husband, Michael, purchased the Johnson House 40 years ago with no previous experience in the restaurant business. Since Michael’s death, Peggy has continued to keep the restaurant running, providing the best in food and hospitality.  Peggy greets each customer at the door every evening, and last year was honored by the New York State Restaurant Association with a prestigious Silver Spoon Award.

Kathleen Stephany was honored with the Citizen of the Year Award, presented by Churchville Mayor and 2016-17 Chamber Board of Directors member Nancy Steedman.

Mayor Steedman described Kathleen’s remarkable efforts last summer as she drove east on Buffalo Road, to stop and help a motorist whom she realized was slumped over the steering wheel. Kathleen pulled over and managed to stop the truck. She then recognized the stricken driver was Ray Jackling, a good friend with whom she had car-pooled to work at RG&E.

“Kathy did not drive by,” Mayor Steedman said, “she did what she could to help.  We are so very proud of her and felt (she) should be recognized.”

Kathleen said she was “totally surprised,” to receive recognition from the Chamber. “I had always imagined what I would do if I came upon someone who needed help.  I knew I had to stop the truck before it crossed into oncoming traffic.”

Kathleen said she was able to get another motorist to stop and help and call 911 for additional assistance.

“We drove back and forth to work together,” Kathleen said of herself and Ray, who had retired from RG&E. “It is ironic that I should be at that place at that precise time. I was running early that day, which rarely happens.”

She said the Churchville Fire Department and Ambulance did all they could to try and save Ray, who was a well-known member of the Churchville community and the Churchville Lions Club.

“I don’t think I did anything exceptional that day,” Kathleen said. “Thank you for the recognition and the award.”

Wilkins RV was honored with the Civic Beautification Award. Denise Haggerty, general manager of the Churchville location, accepted the award from Mayor Nancy Steedman. Mayor Steedman said Wilkins is located at a gateway to the village and president Brian Wilkins decided to modernize the facility and stay in Churchville rather than move to another site.

“We are glad that they stayed,” she said.  “They continue to bring many visitors to the community.” Mayor Steedman noted the landscaping installed by Wilkins is, “Pleasing to the eye and inviting to those shopping for recreational vehicles.”

Sue Davis, current Greater Churchville-Riga Chamber of Commerce president, was honored with the Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year Award.  Davis was out of town with family and unable to attend, but presenter and Chamber Board of Directors member Keith Ryan said Davis has been a member since 1985 and has served as treasurer and president twice over the years. Ryan said Davis has done, “a great job as president,” and always has worked to improve the Chamber with new ideas.

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