by KEN LAHMERS | EDITOR
Aurora -- A longtime local businessman who passed away in September was named person of the year, and Imagine That Custom Embroidery & Screen Printing was named business of year Dec. 10 at the Chamber of Commerce's annual holiday party at ThornCreek Winery & Gardens.
Blase "Buddy" Settecase operated Quality Landscaping & Garden Center for many years and was known to many as "the friendly man who sold Christmas trees on Route 43," according to Chamber Executive Director Laura Holman.
"We lost a wonderful man in September, as Buddy spent his life dedicating himself to the values of hard work and loyalty," she added. "Anyone who knew him recognized how much he valued his family, including his wife Irene, their four children and seven grandchildren.
"He was very generous with people in need, but he did not want recognition for his generosity. He was the true epitome of a civic and personal hero."
Settecase lived in Aurora for 50-plus years. His wife and three of his children -- Tony and Nick Settecase and Nadine Hoffman -- accepted the award.
Meanwhile, Chris and Jamie Gentille, who accepted the business of the year award, purchased Imagine That in September 2010, and "have worked tirelessly to create a family- and community-centered company that specializes in personal service," said Holman. "Whether opening its doors to a grieving community [as when Aurora High School athlete Paulie McGhee died in a traffic accident in November 2011], sponsoring a fundraising Color Run or raising funds to support school programs such as the after-prom, Imagine That truly cares about Aurora."
Chris Gentille has been the Aurora High School varsity boys soccer head coach for several years, and also directs the Aurora United youth soccer program.
The Chamber accepts nominations from the general public each year for the person and business of the year.
The person of the year award is given to recognize the contribution of a person who exemplifies civic awareness, demonstrates leadership and works for the betterment of the Aurora community.
The business of the year is presented to a business, organization or agency that has made a positive contribution to fostering and promoting business vitality in Aurora, making the city a better place to work, live and raise families.
The Chamber's board of directors selects a recipient from the submitted nominations, and awards are presented at the annual holiday party.
2014 OFFICERS NAMED
Holman announced the following will be officers in 2014: Brad Duguay of Custom Pultrusions, president; Lisa Kusner of Aurora Farms Premium Outlets, vice president; Lori Davis of Wildwater Kingdom, secretary; and Dottie Dupuy of Howard Hanna, treasurer
Other board members are Michelle Harman of Harman Home Designs, Charisse Louis of Charene Creative, Jim Maulis of Graphics by Design, Laura Radcliff of Edward Jones, Jennifer Stanley of First National Bank and Sue Tinlin of Howard Hanna. The latter two are newcomers.
Leaving the board as of Dec. 31 are past president Holly Novotny of Harry & David, Karen Bosley of Cortland Banks and Doug Wider of Mill Distributors.
A silent auction took place to support the Chamber's scholarship fund, and Aurora School of Music provided entertainment.
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189