Dr. Hamels Running For Riply Town Justice
Dr. John Hamels is running for the one-year vacancy of Ripley Town Justice left by the late Hon. Laverne Gibson.
“It would be a true honor to follow in Justice Gibson’s footsteps and I will endeavor to bring the same fairness and level of professionalism to the office,” Hamels said.
To date, Hamels has the Green Party and Working Families Party endorsements. He is seeking the Conservative and Independence Party endorsements on Primary Day on Thursday.
Hamels has served the Ripley community starting in 1986 when he was elected to the Ripley Central School board, having served for more than 16 years, 10 of which he was president. In 2002 he was approached by his fellow board members and was hired as the district superintendent from 2002 through 2007. In retirement he was elected to the Ripley Board of Fire Commissioners, having served four years until he was approached by the Ripley Town Board to fill a one-year vacancy.
He was then elected to a four-year term and serves as the chairman for Youth and Recreation programs, co-chaired the Veterans’ of Valor project and has been recently heading up a municipal solar energy project for the town departments. During this same time he was asked to serve a one-year vacancy on the Ripley Library board, where he was elected to a full term of office.
In addition to his service to his community he has served on many boards and organizations including: Westfield Memorial Hospital, Chautauqua County Planning Board, Chautauqua Opportunities Inc., Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village, Manufacturing Technology Institute at JCC, Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club, Olive Lodge 595 F&AM, Sheriff’s Advisory Council and the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.
Hamels came to Chautauqua County in 1974 to work for the then-Chautauqua County BOCES as a special education teacher until 1989, when he began his work in educational administration. He served as a training specialist, assistant principal, principal, regional administrator and then school superintendent. He holds a bachelor’s and masters degree in education, a certificate of advanced study in school administration and a Ph.D. in education. The Chautauqua County School Boards Association awarded him the “Friend of Education” award and Hamels was honored by the Ripley Grange as the “Citizen of the Year” for distinguished community service. Two Masonic Lodges recognized him with two separate awards: “Mason of the Year” and “Jacob Morton Masonic Award for Community Service.” He is a also a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.
Presently he hosts and produces a cable TV show, Chautauqua Sunrise every Saturday morning, now in its fifth season on Access Chautauqua CH 1301. His TV work was recently recognized by state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, with a state Senate legislative resolution. His monthly column “From Out of the West” can be read in The Post Journal’s Silver Magazine. Music is still an important part of his life and he has celebrated his 50th anniversary as a local entertainer playing a variety of genres and instruments. He presently performs in the musical duo, Russell and Hamels.”
Hamels has lived in Ripley for 37 years with his wife, Barbara. They have four grown children and grandchildren.