Paul Hedberg, Ruth Lundin Honored With Community Service Award

Peter Stark, John D. Hamilton Community Service Award chair, and Tory Irgang, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation executive director, present Paul Hedberg and Ruth Lundin with this year’s award during a reception at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel. Submitted photo

For Paul Hedberg and Ruth Lundin, the simple act of volunteering led them not only to each other, but an entire community who have made a lasting impact in their lives.

“Every time I volunteered I met people who enriched my life,” Hedberg said. “And I think I got out of it much more than I gave.”

During a reception Friday at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel, Hedberg and Lundin were celebrated for their decades of service and presented the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation’s John D. Hamilton Community Service Award.

According to Peter Stark, John D. Hamilton Community Service Award chair, the award has been presented annually since 1993 to recognize those who demonstrate dedication, leadership and support in furthering community spirit and enriching the quality of life in the area.

“Knowing the two of you has been one of the highlights of my life,” Stark said. “Each of you have contributed in your own way with your own tool box, ways that make this a better community. Everyone in this room is better, because they have been inspired by you.”

Throughout the evening, Stark’s sentiments were echoed by the countless friends, colleagues and community volunteers who have been touched by Hedberg and Lundin’s selfless service.

“Working hard typifies Paul and Ruth, together they’re like this dynamic duo,” said Pat Smith, retired nonprofit management consultant.

“There was never anything that either of them couldn’t do once they set their minds to it.”

A Jamestown native, Hedberg is the former Assistant Dean of Administration at Jamestown Community College. He served in leadership roles with the Chautauqua

County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Chautauqua Leadership Network, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and United Way of Southern Chautauqua County. Hedberg is also credited with serving as chair of Research and Planning for Human Service.

It was through Chautauqua Leadership Network that he met Lundin, a Homewood, IL native who had recently moved to Chautauqua County and accepted a position as president of the local Audubon Society.

Lundin spent nearly 20 years leading the Audubon Community Nature Center and expanding her passion for the environment by serving on the Board of the Audubon Council of New York State. Today, she continues to volunteer with the Audubon and serves as the President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Jamestown and leads its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

In 2008 their lives were forever changed when Hedberg was involved in a car accident.

“When Paul had his accident, my deepest grief was that the community had lost his great service,” said Lundin.

Over time, as Hedberg recovered from his injuries, he and Lundin discovered new ways they could serve the community, together.

They supported the local arts through Community Music Project, tutored local youth with Chautauqua Striders, spent countless hours reading to students through Rotary literacy projects, and can often be found around town supporting community events.

“Of course things changed for them after Dad’s accident, but not their commitment to carrying our their plans and continuing to honor their values of outward focus and serving the community,” said Hedberg’s daughter, Kristie Gronquist.

In addition to their appreciation for this award, Hedberg and Lundin also expressed their gratitude to their friends and family who have supported them along the way.

“To everyone who has made it possible for us to spread our wings and do these really incredible things, thank you,” Lundin said. “And no, we aren’t slowing down yet,” she added with a smile.


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