Chamber Honors 10 Residents At Banquet

June and Russ Diethrick accept the Jamestown Chamber award from Todd Tranum, right.

A surprise award stole the show Thursday at the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce’s 20th annual awards banquet.

During an event that recognized more than 10 county residents for their contributions throughout 2020, the unscheduled announcement by the CLN honored Tranum for his 21 years of leadership at the chamber.

“This award is presented to an individual or an organization who inspires, leads and engages other members of their community for the betterment of Chautauqua County,” Justin Hanfft said as the meeting was breaking up. “You work on bringing the entire county together for the Small Business Revolution movement and bringing businesses together to navigate the uncertainty of the coronavirus shutdowns and reopenings — this honor is definitely well deserved.”

The night ended with a humbled and shocked Tranum thanking the Chautauqua Leadership Network for their award.

Amanda Brinkman, co-host and founder of The Small Business Revolution spoke at the end of the event. Brinkman talked about what The Small Business Revolution TV show is and shared the names of the featured businesses as well as played a trailer for the upcoming season.

Burl Swanson.


“Doing good is to support the small business community,” Brinkman shared. “Driving more people to support small businesses, the number one thing that small businesses need is for people to buy from them and support them. From the very beginning my vision was to create a movement, we wanted to create something that really and truly inspired people to support small businesses.

“When you tell someone to go visit a small town you talk about those small businesses, you don’t talk about the big-box stores, it’s really you’re small businesses that are giving your communities that personality, that character and they’re the ones that are giving back to your communities.”

Brinkman also spoke of how disproportionately the crisis in 2020 hit.

“When we first started filming season 5 the season was off to a normal start, we had our first big kick-off the last week of February and the first week of March and then fast forward one week and everything changed,” Brinkman shared. “It was a very interesting season though because we had to film a television show from our basement and we had to get really creative about how we captured it.”

Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek.

Before the surprise announcement Tranum reminded people that 2020 has been a difficult year, albeit a character-building one, and thanked all those attending for joining the event.

“The challenges the last several month have demonstrated what we know of our folks here in Chautauqua County, we’re hard working, we’re dedicated, we persevere and when our backs are to the wall we’ve rallied to the community,” Tranum said before giving out awards.

Honorees were: the Small Business Revolution Committee and the businesses selected for season 5 for Person(s) of the Year, The Chautauqua Center for the Economic Development Award, Roberto Fred Farms for the Dunkirk Community Service Award, Michele Joy for the Fredonia Community Service Award, Elizabeth Valvo for the Hanover Community Service Award, Russ and June Diethrick for the Jamestown Community Service Award, Burl Swanson for the Mayville-Chautauqua Community Service Award and James “Shaggy” Ruch for the Westfield-Barcelona Community Service Award.

James "Shaggy" Ruch


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