Terrific Twenty-Five

John D. Hamilton Award: 25 Years Of Honoring The Community's Unsung Heroes

Randall Sweeney, the 25th winner of the John D. Hamilton Award.

For 25 years, the John D. Hamilton Community Service Award has recognized individuals and groups who strive to make the Chautauqua region a better place. The award is given annually by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, with Randall J. Sweeney the recipient this year.

In recognition of the award, The Post-Journal is recognizing all past winners who have made the region a better place.

Peter and Holly Sullivan 2016: Peter Sullivan, a lifelong resident of Jamestown, and Holly Sullivan a native of Berea, Ohio, were the 2016 winners of the Hamilton Community Service Award. The couple met while students at Miami University of Ohio, and married in 1969. The couple have raised three children: Katy, Lindsey and Judson.

Peter is a past United Way campaign chair, Jamestown YMCA campaign chair and board member, Sheldon Foundation Board of Directors member and president and served on many WCA Hospital campaign committees, and has been an integral member of the Friends of Midway, helping to bring the new Putt Around Chautauqua miniature golf course to fruition.

Holly has served on the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts as its president, the WCA Hospital Board of Directors and ER campaign as an advisory member, the Lucy-Desi Center as a board member and founder and the United Way as a co-chair. She is the former 1984 Woman of the Year and 2016 Court Appointed Special Advocates Person of the Year.

Dr. Leonard E. Faulk, Jr. 2015: Dr. Faulk, the 2015 award winner, was born and raised in Jamestown. He has been described as a visionary and has dedicated his life to improving the quality of life for residents of the Chautauqua region.

He has been involved in several community organizations, such as: the SUNY Fredonia StartUP NY Advisory Committee, the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, the City of Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnership Commission and the Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation.

Jeanette Carlson 2014: Jeanette Carlson, the 2014 winner of the John D. Hamilton Award, is a Jamestown native and graduate of Jamestown High School, Jamestown Community College and attended SUNY Fredonia.

She has worked at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamestown as a Church Business Administrator, and upon her retirement in 1998, she was honored with the title of Business Manager Emerita.

Carlson has volunteered at a number of organizations, and served on the boards of directors at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Robert H. Jackson Center and CODE Inc.

Chautauqua Region Community Foundation Past Board Presidents 2013: The 2013 John D. Hamilton Award, in lieu of being given to a single recipient, was awarded to the 11 former presidents of the CRCF Board of Directors.

Those awarded included: Kenneth W. Strickler, Craig P. Colburn, Gregory L. Peterson, Tyler C. Swanson, Donald L. Meyer, Randy M. Ordines, Max R. Pickard, Kristy B. Zabrodsky, Michael D. Metzger, Lyman A. Buck and Stephen J. Wright.

John E. Anderson 2012: John Anderson, the 2012 winner, is a 32nd degree mason, and is best known for his lifelong dedication to the Boy Scouts of America. A scout in his youth, he has served on the board of directors for the Allegheny Highland Council of the Boy Scouts of America for over 25 years.

Additionally, he has taken active roles with the Robert H. Jackson Center, Lutheran Social Services, Chautauqua Striders, the Salvation Army, the Sunset Hill Cemetery Board, the James Prendergast Library Association, the Chautauqua County Tobacco Asset Securitization Commission, and has contributed to the annual fund drive for the Chautauqua Institution.

Dr. Bert W. Rappole 2011: Dr. Rappole, the 2011 award winner, has stated that community is what you make of it, and everybody has to work to make the community better.

He received his medical degree from University at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and has practiced over 20 years.

Away from his practice, he has involved himself in many community organizations, including the James Prendergast Library Board of Directors, the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Board of Directors, the Greater Jamestown AM Rotary, the Chautauqua County Hospice Board of Directors, the Panama United Methodist Church and Koinonia of Jamestown.

Allen Short 2010: Allen Short, the 2010 John D. Hamilton Award winner, was a graduate of the Nichols School and Colgate University, and was a veteran, serving in the Marine Corps during World War II.

He was integral to the success of many local charities and organizations, including serving as the Executive Director for Links Charity, the Advisory Council of the WCA Hospital Emergency Department $16.5 million capital Campaign, Charter Director and former Chairman of the Jamestown Community College Foundation, Chairman of the United Way Campaign and Chairman of the Chautauqua Fund for five years.

Short passed away in 2016.

Helen G. Ebersole 2009: Helen Ebersole, historian, author and teacher, was the 2009 community service award winner. She is best known as the longtime historian of Lakewood. She has published many books on the Chautauqua region, including: Trolleys of Jamestown and Chautauqua Lake, Electricity and Politics in Jamestown 1891-1931, Chautauqua Lake Hotels and An ImPRESSive Record: Jamestown Journal 1826-1941.

Regarding community organizations, she has been involved with the Fenton Historical Society, the Southwestern Central School Board, the Jamestown Community Concert Board, the Chautauqua County Arts Council, Creche, the Chautauqua County Planning Board, the United Way of Southern Chautauqua and the Lakewood Memorial Library Board of Trustees.

Hon. Joseph Gerace 2008: The Hon. Joseph Gerace, the 2008 John D. Hamilton Community Service Award winner, was born and raised in Chautauqua County. Following his graduation from Lakewood High School, he attended Denison University and Albany Law School.

His professional career includes over 50 years of service to the public. He has served in the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department, the Lakewood Business Association, the Lakewood Area Chamber of Commerce, the Southwestern Booster Club, as a member of the Lakewood Memorial Library, the Masons, the NYS Grange, the American Legion, the Farm Bureau and Kiwanis.

Vivian and Lula Taylor 2007: The Taylors, the 2007 winners, have spent a lifetime of community service to the Chautauqua Region.

Vivian, a decorated veteran of World War II, also attended Stillman Institute, Fisk University and SUNY Fredonia. He spent 24 years as a City of Jamestown councilman, served on the board for the Lucile M. Wright Air Museum and the Senior Citizen Center. He was a Jamestown Civil Air Patrol Senior Squadron member, a Chautauqua Region Family Services member and was a former Boy Scouts commissioner.

Lula, a true trailblazer, became the first African American woman elected to any county legislature in New York State, and served as a Chautauqua County Legislator for 14 years. She has also served on the Chautauqua County Board of Health, the Chautauqua County Health Network Advisory Board, the Office for the Aging Advisory Board and the Falconer Rotary.

Together, the Taylors are co-founders of the Chautauqua County Black History Committee and were co-chairs of the Jamestown Interracial Forum.

Jane and George Campbell 2006: The Campbells, the 2006 winners, moved to Jamestown in 1964, and immediately made an impact upon the community.

George served in the Marine Corps from 1946 to 1948, and again from 1950-51. He was a board member for the Gebbie Foundation, the YMCA of Jamestown, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, the Manufacturer’s Association, the Southern Chautauqua United Way and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Incredibly, he donated 172 pints of blood to the American Red Cross during his lifetime.

Jane Campbell, a truly munificent woman, dedicated time to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the Lakewood Library, A Children’s Place Daycare Center, the Chautauqua County Special Olympics and logged over 3,500 volunteer hours at WCA Hospital in her lifetime.

George passed in 2009, with Jane following him in 2016.

Jim Roselle 2005: Jim Roselle, the 2005 John D. Hamilton Award winner, was a familiar voice in the Chautauqua region for over 50 years. Roselle began his radio career in 1953, and went on to create a legacy, the likes of which would be impossible to forget.

Off the air, Roselle was a member of the James Prendergast Library board, and was involved with the United Way, the Sertoma Club, the Kiwanis Club of Jamestown and the Jamestown Boys and Girls Club. On the air, he interviewed such personalities as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jane Goodall, Lucille Ball and Tim Russert. He has broadcast from London, the Soviet Union, Austria, Germany and Italy.

Roselle passed in 2016.

Dudley Ericson 2004: The 2004 winner, Dudley Ericson, has lived a life marked by civic achievements. A graduate of Michigan State University, he went on to become a commissioned Air Force officer, with his service concluding in 1960. He was named Director of Human Resources at WCA Healthcare Center, and held the position until 1996. From 1997 to 2003, he conducted public tours for the Chautauqua Institution marketing department.

Ericson has served on the National Advisory Council for the American Red Cross, was a member of the Rotary Club of Jamestown for 34 years, where he served as president, Rotary Foundation chairman, membership chairman and assistant district governor.

Chautauqua Region Community Foundation Founders and First Board 2003: The 2003 award, in lieu of being given to a single recipient, was awarded to those who served on the foundation’s first board of directors. Those awarded were: Carl M. Cappa, Barbara S. Carlson, Francis B. Grow, John D. Hamilton, Miles L. Lasser, Elizabeth S. Lenna, Marion A. Panzarella, Richard W. Parker, Samuel P. Price Sr., John L. Sellstrom and Kenneth W. Strickler.

Charles T. Hall, Esq. 2002: The 2002 John D. Hamilton award winner, Charles T. Hall, Esq., has served as president for the Gebbie Foundation board, where he was integral to the creation of the formerly named Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena. At the time of the award, he was also active with his involvement in the United Way, the Jamestown Boys and Girls club, the former Holy Family Catholic School and SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church.

Russell E. Diethrick, Jr. 2001: A name synonymous with baseball in the Chautauqua region, Russell E. Diethrick was the 2001 John D. Hamilton Award winner. Diethrick was born in Patton, Penn. and moved to Jamestown when he was five. As the Jamestown Parks, Recreation and Conservation Director, he supervised 20 youth baseball leagues and all recreational sports for boy and girls in Jamestown, as well as several adult programs. He went on to become assistant general manager of the Jamestown Expos of the New York-Pennsylvania League, and served as director of that league.

He is a past district commissioner of the American Softball Association of America and was tournament chairman for the Middle Atlantic Regional Babe Ruth Tournament. He was inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Babe Ruth League Hall of Fame in 1997.

Carl M. Cappa 2000: The 2000 Hamilton Community Service Award was given to Carl M. Cappa, a founding member of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Cappa was born and raised in Jamestown, and served in the Army during World War II. He has served on the board of directors for the American Furniture Manufacturing Association and was the president of the Jamestown Manufacturer’s Association and the Moonbrook Country Club.

At the time of the award, Cappa was involved with local organizations such as the Jamestown Community College Foundation, the Jamestown Boys and Girls club and was on the WCA Hospital Board of Directors. He founded the Cappa Family Fund, which helped support the operations of the St. Susan’s Soup Kitchen.

Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney 1999: Dr. Ney, the 1999 Hamilton Community Service Award winner, has attained a top echelon of community involvement in the Chautauqua region. Dr. Ney was raised in the region, and left to attend Wells College and the University of Buffalo School of Medicine. She returned to Jamestown in 1969 and practiced Internal Medicine and Cardiology until her retirement in 1995. Following, she served as medical director of Heritage Park Nursing Home and the Jamestown Area Medical Associates.

Away from her practice, she has served on the board of directors for the Reg Lenna Civic Center (now Center for the Arts), James Prendergast Library, American Heart Association, United Way, the Association of Boards of Trustee of Community Colleges, the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees, the Jamestown Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission and Creche, Inc. She has served as president of the Gebbie Foundation and the Jamestown City Council, and Chair of the Health Care Action Team.

Kenneth W. Strickler 1998: Kenneth Strickler was the 1998 winner. A native of Avalon, Pa., he was a World War II Army veteran, serving from 1944 to 1946. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh in 1949. He moved to Jamestown in 1954, when he purchased the William A. Long Typewriter Company, which was changed to Ken Strickler, Inc., and operated until he sold the business in 1976.

In 1993, Strickler became a member of the Founding Group of the Jamestown Savings Bank and served as Chairman of the Board of Jamestown Savings until his retirement. Outside of business, Strickler was a founder and the first president of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, as well as a director and past chairperson of the Fredonia College Foundation. Strickler passed in 2015.

Reginald and Betty Lenna 1997: The Lennas, the 1997 winners, have a legacy of helping manufacturing proliferate in the Chautauqua region. Reginald was born in Jamestown and attended Jamestown High School and the Manlius Military School before enrolling in the engineering school at Lehigh University. Prior to his service in World War II, he was a director of the Jamestown Malleable Iron Company. Following, he became Assistant to the President of the Blackstone Manufacturing Company, and was instrumental in entering the Blackstone Company in the international market.

After Reginald and Betty were wed in 1961, Reginald became president and CEO of Blackstone, overseeing expansion of the company into Sweden, Canada and Mexico. Together, they formed a partnership in philanthropy toward arts in the area.

Reginald passed in 2000, with Betty following him in 2011.

Harry B. Nicholson, Jr. 1996: The 1996 winner of the award, Harry Nicholson, moved to Bemus Point in 1990 when he began serving as chairman and chief executive officer of the Downcraft Corporation in Falconer. Away from business, Nicholson was active in the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce, serving as president and director, the Manufacturer’s Association of Jamestown Area, serving as campaign chairman, the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, serving as director, the Jamestown Area Labor Management Committee, serving as director, and the WCA Community Advisory Council, serving as a member.

Frances B. Grow 1995: Frances Grow, the 1995 John D. Hamilton Award winner, was a founding member and executive director of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

Gregory L. Peterson 1994: Greg Peterson, the 1994 winner, has contributed innumerably to the Chautauqua region. At the time of the award, Peterson was honored for his accomplishments as past president of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, where he established the sports memorabilia auction, which benefited the WCA Hospital sports clinic.

Peterson is a past vice president of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce and Fredonia College Foundation board of directors. He is currently on the board of directors for the Resource Center Foundation, Business Council of New York State, Chairman of Jamestown Professional Baseball and is a co-founder and member of the board of directors for the Robert H. Jackson Center.

John D. Hamilton 1993: John D. Hamilton was the original winner of the award that is his namesake. Hamilton was born in Pavillion, N.Y. in 1900. In 1948, he became president of the Chautauqua National Bank in Jamestown, and became chairman of the board in 1965. In 1970, he assumed the presidency of the Gebbie Foundation, where he sought to enrich the lives and well-being of the residents of Chautauqua. In his life, he also served as the president of the Rotary Club, treasurer of the First Presbyterian Church, trustee of the Jamestown YMCA and trustee of Jamestown Community College. Hamilton passed in 2000 at the age of 100.