Lansford American Legion Post 123 honored former Lansford mayor Bob Silver as its 2011 Person of the Year, during the third annual Person of the Year dinner held Saturday at the Legion.
Silver, who served as president of Silver Furniture on West Patterson Street for 25 years until he shut down and semi-retired in 2007, still serves with many local community organizations, such as treasurer of the Panther Valley Pumpkin Parade, treasurer of the Lansford Improvement Committee, vice president of the Carbon Schuylkill Industrial Development Corporation, vice president of the Lansford Alive, and trustee of the Panther Valley Library.
In addition to serving three years in the Army, Silver has served his local community as chairman of the Lansford Merchants Organization, charter member of the Lansford Concerned Citizens, member of the Carbon County Planning Commission, chairman of the Lansford Civil Service Commission, and past volunteer with the Lake Harmony Ambulance Corps and fire company.
Silver, while a member of the Panther Valley Jaycees, was the original organizer of the Panther Valley Jaycees Operation Santa Claus and Pumpkin Parade.
Participating in the ceremony were Bill Coll, master of ceremonies; speaker Jack Anderson, commander of the Lansford American Legion; and Paul McArdle, mayor of Summit Hill.
In addition to receiving the Lansford Person of the Year award from the Legion and an award of recognition from the Borough of Lansford, speakers, co-workers and friends provided heartfelt remarks of Silver's unending enthusiasm and dedication, as well as presenting him with a number of other awards and citations.
John Turcmanovich, 2009 honoree, presented Silver with an awards citation on behalf of state Rep. Doyle Heffley. Chris Ondrus, who presented a congratulatory citation on behalf of Sen. John T. Yudichak, talked about Silver's love for children and labeled him as Mr. Lansford, pointing out the heart and effort Silver has put into Lansford during his 43 years as a dedicated businessman.
Adam Webber, president of Lansford Borough Council, affirmed Silver as an amazing person and all he has done for Lansford. Webber also said Silver was his mentor over the years.
Lenny Kovach, member of the Lansford Improvement Committee, awarded Silver with a clear recognition and appreciation plaque for his many years of dedication to the community.
Martha Rex, with Lansford Alive, presented Silver with the Black Diamond Community Improvement Award for his efforts to improve the quality of life in Lansford.
Don Reese, the TIMES NEWS advertising director and a lifelong friend and past co-worker of Silver's, spoke about the similar traits both Bob and his father shared. Reese pointed out that Silver shouldn't be called person of the year, but instead called Person Throughout the Years, stressing Silver's lifelong community dedication in Lansford.
Lisa Hiles, friend and past co-worker of Silver, spoke highly of Silver's strong work ethic as well as being a staple in the Lansford community. Silver's friends Mark Marek and George Mermon also spoke of many memorable moments with Silver. Joe Genits, a friend of Silver's, spoke of Silver's community mindset and kindheartedness toward children and said he serves as an inspiration to everyone to look up to.
Renee Slakoper, 2010 honoree, on behalf of the Lansford American Legion Post 123, spent time talking about how Silver provided her with the foundation to volunteer.
Currently, in addition to serving as the owner and operator of Silver's Oreck Sales and Service Vacuums and Books in Lansford, Silver is the also a partner and vice president of Ebony and Ivory Trolley Service of Mermon Motors in Tamaqua.
Silver stated his appreciation to friends and family, pointing out his longtime companion Barbara Williams, daughter Suzanne and her husband Harry, daughter Lisa and her friend Dan, sister Janet, her daughter Bobo, and her son AJ, and the newest addition to his family, grandson Noah, who is 3.
Silver also stressed his appreciation to Bert Silver, his father and boss, for encouraging him through his charitable endeavors and his best friend Lee Pollock.
"My hope is that with this honor being bestowed on me tonight, that others might hear and read about the joy of volunteering," Silver said.
"My only goal was to serve the people of the area, and in particular, the young kids."
Hiles finished with a quote from Pearl Bailey, "Everyone wants to do something to help, but nobody wants to be first," said Hiles. "Bob was always one of the first."