Annual Citizens of the Year ceremony held

Sheryl Gibson (right), owner of Gibby's Mini Mart, viewed her plaque as she accepted the 2016 Woman of the Year Award during the Wellsville Area Chamber of Commerce's Citizens of the Year ceremony Wednesday, held at the Wellsville Sons of Italy. Presenting Gibson with the trophy was Karen Dash, a longtime teacher and former Board of Education member, who was honored as the 2015 Woman of the Year. (Photo by Steve Rappach)

WELLSVILLE – A longtime business owner, a retired teacher/coach and a local ice cream shop received top honors Wednesday as the Wellsville Area Chamber of Commerce presented its annual Citizens of the Year ceremony and dinner at the Wellsville Sons of Italy.

Sheryl Gibson, co-owner and operator of Gibby’s Mini Mart on Clark Avenue, was selected as the 2016 Woman of the Year, while Randy Young, a longtime teacher and football and basketball coach for Wellsville schools, was selected as this year’s Man of the Year.

Gibson, a longtime Wellsville native, previously worked at Russell’s Mini Mart for 15 years, and later worked with CF Bank for 25 years before retiring in 2013. She and her husband, Steve, founded Gibby’s Mini Mart in 2006, which remains open to this day.

Gibson is also involved with the chamber and several community events, including serving as organizer of the village’s annual Christmas parade and organizer of the All-Class Reunion dinner, held last summer.

“Thanks everyone for the support,” Gibson said.

As for the Man of the Year, Young, a 1973 Wellsville graduate, enjoyed a 35-year career with the Wellsville schools as a high school teacher, and also enjoyed a coaching career in football and basketball on various levels, including as a defensive coordinator for the football team and as head coach for the girls varsity basketball team for eight years. Under Young, the Tigers won two district titles, a regional title and were state runners-up for the 1986-87 season.

Young is also a member of the Wellsville Elks Lodge, where he serves as scholarship chairman, and was a founding member of the Wellsville Alumni Scholarship Foundation when it was formed in 1989, and has served as the foundation’s president since 1998. The foundation, since its formation, has awarded $712,550 in scholarships to 325 Wellsville graduates.

Last year’s Woman and Man of the Year honorees, Karen Dash and Joe Traina, presented the plaques to Gibson and Young.

Traina, who is the current president of the Sons of Italy, joked with Young as he presented the honor.

“You know what comes with this? Next year, you’ve got to serve the dinner,” Traina joked.

“I want to thank the chamber, and thank everyone who came,” Young said.

This year’s Business of the Year honors went to the Wellsville Dairy Queen, located on Third Street.

The local Dairy Queen was started by Dale and Darlene Ruffner in 1962, and moved to its current location in 1992, where it serves as a restaurant and party room for large functions. The business has since been owned and operated by Tammy Palma, who was on hand to accept the award for the business.

Dairy Queen beat out Simply Sweet Cakes and Roberts Funeral Home for the Business of the Year honor.

In addition, the chamber honored Ron and Julie DeMoulin with the Community Service Award, with the chamber noting their dedication to cleaning the flood walls and maintaining several locations throughout the village, including the Boy and the Boot monument and the 17th Street Park, and helped construct Imagination Park on Main Street.

Also honored was Matthew Watson of the Martin MacLean Altmeyer Funeral Home in Wellsville, who received the Rising Star Award.

Watson, who serves as a funeral director and pre-arrangement specialist, serves his time as an Eagle Scout of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 41 and is a member of the East Liverpool ATA Martial Arts, Elks Lodge 258, the Wellsville Sons of Italy and the Wellsville Historical Society. Watson also coordinated an event at the Wellsville River Museum for the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and co-chaired the Morgain Raid Committee. Watson currently resides in East Liverpool with his three daughters.

In a change of voting procedures from years past, no voting was held for this year’s ceremony with the Man and Woman of the Year selections having been pre-selected by the Chamber. The Business of the Year recipient was randomly selected, with the names of the three nominated businesses placed in a hat.

The runners-up for the Business of the Year category will be automatically nominated for the 2017 ceremony, to which standard voting procedures will also return.

Meanwhile, several local office holders and candidates for the upcoming election were in attendance, including state Rep. Tim Ginter (R-Salem), who served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony.

Ginter took time to discuss the proposed South Field Energy power plant, which is scheduled to break ground in 2017, along with the addition of the $5.1 million crane and conveyer system at the Wellsville Intermodal Facility. Ginter took time to thank county Port Authority director Penny Traina, also in attendance, for her efforts with the latter project completed this past summer.

“That is no small news for any area, and is tremendous news given our area, and so that is something of significance I’m sure you’re aware of and we’re watching closely and anticipating,” Ginter said.

Ginter will face Democratic challenger John Dyce in this Tuesday’s election. Also on hand were county Commissioners Tim Weigle and Jim Hoppel, along with Beaver Local Board of Education president Jerry Barnett, who is challenging Weigle for a commissioner’s seat. Hoppel is unopposed.

Chamber president Randy Allmon served as master of ceremonies for the dinner as he provided jokes for the guests, while president-elect Diana Allmon introduced the business of the year and Women of the Year recipients, while chamber member/Board of Education president Ed Bauer introduced the Business of the Year nominees and the Man of the Year recipient.

Wellsville Mayor Nancy Murray opened the ceremony and thanked the chamber members for their dedication and work in the village.

Murray was joined at her table by Lt. Marcia Eisenhart of the Wellsville Police Department and village fiscal officer Hoi Wah Black.

“We’ve come this far by working together for a common good,” Murray said. “I look forward to working with the Chamber to move forward with this village.”