Above, Mickey Hyde, left, and Charlie Cook, of Liberty Pumps.
BERGEN – The Bergen Business and Civic Association has put forth great effort to improve the quality of life within the Bergen community for many years. They also take the time and trouble to recognize those citizens of Bergen who donate their time and efforts to make Bergen a better place to live and work.
On Saturday, the BBCA sponsored a community recognition dinner at Batavia Country Club to honor those individuals who give above and beyond for the betterment of their community.
Honorees were Joe MacConnell, Marian Partridge, Sandy Partridge, Jennie Starowicz, Tom Williamson, Marty Dilcher, of Dilcher’s Excavating and Contracting, and Charlie Cook, of Liberty Pumps.
Mayor Anna Marie Barclay, president of BBCA, said it has been at least five years since the organization has publicly recognized its outstanding citizens. At a recent meeting, the membership decided it was time they paid tribute to those people who volunteer or do community service – sometimes quietly and other times when people are aware.
The committee accepted nominations and the honorees were selected.
Joe MacConnell was introduced by David Washburn. MacConnell has been a member of the Bergen Fire Department for more than 50 years and an avid supporter of all their functions. He is a school bus driver for Byron-Bergen Central School and is an advocate for the kids. He was overseer of Mount Rest Cemetery for many years. He is one of those people who, if you need a hand, he is there, Barclay said. She called him a good friend and a good neighbor.
Marian Partridge was introduced by former town supervisor Tom Cunningham. Partridge, 91, was a Home Economics teacher at Byron-Bergen. She is a member of the BBCA and the longest-standing member of the Triangle Club, having joined in the 1950s when it was formed as an offshoot of the YMCA. She started the library in Bergen and put the original monument in Hickory Park. She has been on the Village Planning Board for more than 20 years.
Sandy Partridge, who was presented her award by Anne Sapienza, works with Young Life, a youth organization from the Presbyterian Church. She regularly clears all the furniture out of her living room and makes dinner for up to 20 kids. She runs Food Link at her church, and arrives early to cook hot dogs for people as they wait in line.
Jennie Starowicz was recognized by Myrna List. Starowicz chaired Recycled Teens, a senior citizens group at the Catholic church. She was vice president of the Bergen Historical Society and has been involved in 4-H all her life. List, who like Starowicz comes from a farm family, said she has known Jennie all her life. Starowicz had eight sewing machines set up in her basement, where she invited girls to come in and work on their 4-H projects. She has been involved with the Genesee County Fair for 50 years. At one time she managed a 24-unit apartment house in Bergen, and although she only got paid for 15 hours a week, she spent much more time volunteering to do things for the residents.
Mayor Barclay chose to present Tom Williamson with his award. Several years ago when vandals stole or damaged all the bronze markers on veterans’ graves in Mount Rest Cemetery, Williamson replaced all the missing ones and cleaned and repaired the rest. While serving as the village’s code enforcement officer, if a resident had a problem, Williamson would go to their home after work and help them solve it. He has also been an active member of the American Legion.
Marty Dilcher, of Dilcher’s Excavating and Contracting, received his award from Karen Ely. Dilcher was honored for always helping people and businesses all over town. When a house next to the mayor’s home collapsed and dust covered the Barclay home, Dilcher came and gave them two books of car wash tickets. He loans golf carts free of charge for the Bergen Park Festival and other events.
Charlie Cook, of Liberty Pumps, was introduced by Mickey Hyde. Cook was praised for his community service and building a business that employs more than 250 people in Bergen. Cook stated, “I just do what I do.”
Sapienza, who is secretary of BBCA, said the recognition dinner was long overdue.
“We need to recognize people who contribute to our community,” she said.
Barclay said when she thinks of all the wonderful people in the community and all the wonderful things they do, she wishes they could honor them more often.
Each honored individual received a gift bag, and each one will have their name added to a plaque in the library building.
In addition to the recognition dinner, events which the BBCA supports in the community include the Bergen Park Festival for the past 26 years, and Children’s Easter Egg Hunt. They donate to community groups, such as Byron-Bergen Public Library, Mason’s Gift Basket Program, village Parks and Gillam Grant Community Center. They also publish the Bergen directory every two years.
There are three BBCA officers. In addition to Barclay and Sapienza, there's also Maria Rowland, who serves as treasurer.
The banquet committee for the recognition dinner was Maria Rowland, Myrna List, Connie Tiefel, Catherine Tater and Toby Cook.
Below, Tom Williamson and Bergen Mayor Anna Marie Barclay.
Below, Don Cunningham and Marian Partridge.
Below, Sandy Partridge, left, and Anne Sapienza.
Below, Karen Ely and Marty Dilcher, of Dilcher Excavating and Contracting.
Below, Myrna List, left, and Jennie Starowicz.
Below, Joe MacConnell, left, and David Washburn.
Below, Awards Dinner Committee, from left, Myrna List, Connie Tiefel, Katherine Tater, Maria Rowland and Toby Cook.