Erlandson Receives John D. Hamilton Award Friday
CELORON–A well-known community advocate was awarded for his years of service on Friday
Thomas Erlandson was presented the annual John D. Hamilton Community Service Award by the Chautauqua Regional Community Foundation. The ceremony coincided with a dinner held at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel. Erlandson is a retired Jamestown Community College professor who has spent years in environmental work.
A graduate of Jamestown High School and JCC, Erlandson earned a Bachelor’s of Arts from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. He later earned his master’s in Entomology and a doctorate in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin.
Erlandson taught a variety of biology and geology courses at JCC for 27 years, and was a consultant for Forecon, Inc. for 30 years. He has been involved with many environmental and water quality organizations over the past several decades. Currently he is a member of the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer District Board, Chautauqua County Water Quality Task Force, Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance Science Committee, and Chautuaqua Lake Harmful Algae Bloom Steering Committee. Erlandson is also president of the Chautauqua County Board of Health and serves at biology adviser and board member with the Chautauqua Lake Partnership.
Previously, Erlandson has also been recognized with the JCC Distinguished Alumnus Award and for his service to the Chautauqua County Parks Commission. In addition, the Chautauqua County Legislature has designated a clearing on Oak Hill Road in Frewsburg as Erlandson Overview Park.
The events began with an introduction from two CRCF board of directors. Rex McCray welcomed those in attendance and Jennifer Gibson gave an invocation. Following dinner, John Hamilton Award Chairwomen, Bridget Johnson then introduced Erlandson’s son Erik and daughter Sara Levy. The two shared memories of their father as well as gratitude that he was recognized for his years of service.
“We like to thank the Chautauqua Regional Community Foundation for honoring our father with this award,” Erik Erlandson said. Levy then proceeded to thank her father for being with the family.
She also expressed gratitude to her father for the education he provided. “Dad always taught me that we are upstream from someone and we are downstream someone,” Levy said.
She also cited the numerous environmentally-based field trips on which she accompanied her father. She also thanked Erlandson for his wisdom and wit.
“He taught me not only to enjoy the journey more than the destination but also to learn from the journey,” Levy said. The younger Erlandson also thanked his father for being more than just a community servant. “The gift you gave Chautauqua (County) was more than just a lifetime of service, its personal,” Erlandson said.
The award was then presented to Erlandson by Johnson. Erlandson then spoke on his reaction of receiving the award. He thanked his son and daughter for the memories they shared. He also thanked the members of CRCF for being part of the decision to honor him with the Hamilton Award. For Erlandson earning the award has a particularly special meaning. “During my early years as a member of the JCC faculty I met and developed great respect for Mr. Hamilton,” Erlandson said.
Erlandson respected Hamilton. “I am greatly honored this evening in receiving an award named for the man who did so much in so many ways for the benefit of his adopted community,” Erlandson said.
Erlandson added “I have only done what I thought was important to my community,” Erlandson said.