Many honored at Tamaqua Chamber dinner Thursday
Several residents and the business community were honored during the Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce Annual Community Dinner at Mountain Valley Golf Course on Thursday night.
The 2020 Business Person of the Year award recipients were Ben and Lee Shafer, of Shafer’s Pharmacy, located in downtown Tamaqua. There was no event to honor them last year due to the pandemic.
“People say how can you support small businesses? Leaving reviews, doing things like that are always great,” said Ben Shafer.
“Shopping local, and the big thing of course, right now too, is to help us to keep ourselves and our employees healthy - follow the rules, wear your mask and get your shot of course in times like this - to keep everyone healthy and to help us keep our doors open.”
Ben and his father, Lee, own and operate the third-generation Tamaqua business. The pharmacy was opened in 1946 by Lee’s father Edward.
“When the times are tough, you have to keep working at it and do what you need to do to get by,” Shafer added.
Instead of honoring a 2021 business, the chamber acknowledged each member of the organization.
“Most of our chamber board are also business owners themselves or know the difficulties of running a business,” said Aimee Dotson, chamber office and outreach administrator.
Chamber members had an opportunity to stand up, introduce themselves and briefly speak about their business.
“After what felt like the worst year ever with blow after blow to small businesses, if you are still open, you deserve a round of applause. It has been a tough year to say the least,” Dotson added.
“We want to let all of our members know we see their hard work and we commend them for it.”
Two people were recognized as citizens of the year.
The 2020 Joseph M. Plasko Citizenship award recipient was Linda Heigele.
Heigele has been a part of many integral Tamaqua organizations for several years. She served as secretary of the Tamaqua Beautification Association for 18 years. Heigele has also been a member of the Save our Station Committee since 1992, holding positions such as president and vice president.
This year’s recipient was Dan Odorizzi.
Odorizzi promotes local businesses every day as much as possible. He is a member of both the Save Our Station and Tamaqua Spirit of Christmas planning committee.
Odorizzi previously was involved with the Tamaqua Historical Society and has been a frequent volunteer of various organizations.
“I was very excited and happy,” Odorizzi said. “It was a great moment for myself and my family - especially my father. It was great to see everyone out tonight, it’s just a great night for Tamaqua.”
The event keynote speaker was Dr. Gina Whalen, assistant teaching professor of business for the Penn State Schuylkill and World campuses. She specializes in training and development.
Whalen quoted the great Franklin D. Roosevelt in front of the audience.
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor,” said Whalen, who spoke about transformative learning in her speech.
“I encourage you to consider how you can be a part of someone else’s transformative learning by offering your hard-earned wisdom.”