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The Pride of Sullivan: Chamber holds annual awards

By Patricio Robayo
Posted 11/10/22

Every year the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce celebrates individuals in the county who have made a difference and moved the needle …

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The Pride of Sullivan: Chamber holds annual awards


Every year the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce celebrates individuals in the county who have made a difference and moved the needle forward with the Pride Awards.

This year’s honorees were the Businessperson of the Year Award: Kristine Walsh, Distinguished Achievement Award: Pat and Glenn Smith, Distinguished Service Award: Shannon Cilento and Lindsay Wheat, Emerging Leader Award: Joseph Abraham, Township Awards: Hurleyville Hub, Marilyn Lusker and Jatin and Hiten Patel (J&H Express), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Workplace Excellence Award: Matthew Carrero and Pedro Tweed.

Held at the historic Villa Roma Clubhouse in Callicoon, over a hundred family, friends, and colleagues filled the room to witness the pride of Sullivan County.

Jaime Schmeiser, President, and CEO of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber’s mission is clear, “[We are] the leading organization dedicated to serving Sullivan County, regional businesses, community prosperity through advocacy, access to leaders, economic development, connectivity, and business education, uniting a culture of commerce in Sullivan County. We are your partner for success.”

Chamber Board member Chris Schmidt introduced Pedro Tweed of Tweed Gymnastics. “Pete is more than just a gymnastics coach; just ask him how he’s doing. His response is always going to be ‘super good, but I’ll get better.’ It was the mindset that he instilled in all of us.”

During Carrero’s speech, he said, “To me, when discussing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I feel these values extend beyond the workplace. I’m so thankful to live in a community that embraces diversity and inclusion with an understanding that our differences are what makes this community different and similar.”

Jatin and Hiten Patel of J&H Express said their journey started in 2001, and it would not be possible without the people of Sullivan County, during their acceptance speech after receiving the Township Award.

Marilyn Lusker, who also received a  Township Award, and owns and operates the Rose Cottage in De Bruce said she has to share the award with all the people who have helped her open her business.

Jacquie Leventoff accepted the Township Award on behalf of the Hurleyville Hub, quoting the mission of Leadership Sullivan. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world,” she said. “Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

The Emerging Leader Award was given to Joseph Abraham, Managing Editor for the Sullivan County Democrat, who bestowed some advice to other potential emerging leaders. “Do not be afraid to take [new] opportunities. I also encourage you to get involved in the community… I’m humbled and thank the Chamber for this honor. I will continue to work tirelessly to pay it forward.”

Shannon Cilento from Sullivan Renaissance, who received a Distinguished Service Award, said, “We live in a wonderful, wonderful place with such a strong sense of community, despite the differences that we all might have. I urge all of you to set aside our differences so that we can continue to make Sullivan County a place that we can all be proud of.”

Lindsay Wheat of Sullivan 180, who also received a Distinguished Service Award, said, “I wouldn’t be standing here without everyone here right now. None of this work is because of just one person. We have the most dedicated and resilient organizations, entrepreneurs, and leaders.”

Pat and Glenn Smith accepted the Distinguished Achievement Award for their tireless work to build a better Sullivan County. Glenn said, “We just tried to do various things to help our community as a whole.”

Businessperson of the Year  recipient Kristine Walsh said that Sullivan County is the hidden gem of New York State and thanked her family for their support and the other leaders in the room for helping her become a better businessperson.

 “I watch how you run your businesses,” she said,  “I watch how you speak at public events and that makes me a better person every day.”


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