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Currier honored with Gert Jurkovich Commitment to the Community Award


MASSENA - Thursday night was a big night for Massena Village Police Department Chief Timmy J. Currier.

He delivered the keynote address at the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner, a new partnership between the department and Massena’s business community was announced, and he was presented with the prestigious Gert Jurkovich Commitment to the Community Award.

“It’s not often I’m speechless,” Mr. Currier said upon receiving the award, before coming up with a few words to say.

“I love this community and I love this community with all my heart,” he said. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

The award was presented by Chamber of Commerce Director Kathleen Kelly-Ori.

“The award goes to an individual, group or business that best exemplifies Gert’s dedication to the community,” she said. “When the chamber looks at this recognition, it tries to identify someone who has left their thumbprint on the community. When someone is recognized with this recognition, it isn’t the award that matters. It is the depth of commitment, the quality of service, the product of one’s devotion - these are the things that are counted in life. When you give purely, the honor is in giving, and that is honor enough.”

Ms. Kelly-Ori then highlighted some of the programs and initiatives that Mr. Currier has not only been involved in, but helped to establish including Neighborhood Watch, Massena TRIAD, the department’s canine program, DARE, Massena Drug Free Coalition, Teen Safe Home Check, and even securing a Humvee surveillance vehicle for the department.

“Tim has not only dedicated his career to making Massena a better place to live through his work as police chief, but he is also a consummate leader and volunteer guiding the youth of Massena toward the betterment of their lives,” she said before mentioning his efforts to help establish the Massena Boys and Girls Club.

“In just a short couple of years, Chief Currier has spearheaded a group of dedicated volunteers and business professionals to bring a Boys and Girls Club to Massena. He now serves as president of the organization,” she said. “Under his leadership, the Boys and Girls Club has realized tremendous success which has led to the club finding a permanent home in Massena. The Boys and Girls Club’s future is bright, and Chief Currier’s team is making progress by leaps and bounds.”

Ms. Kelly-Ori concluded her remarks by summarizing why exactly Mr. Currier was chosen for the award.

“His courage to stand up and fight for the quality of life in Massena compounded by his personal dedication to initiatives and programs to improve Massena is why Tim Currier is the recipient of this year’s Massena Chamber of Commerce’s Gert Jurkovich Commitment to Community Award,” she said.

The award came just minutes after Mr. Currier completed a speech highlighting the community’s effort to bring a Boys and Girls Club to Massena.

“The Boys and Girls Club of Massena is going to happen and it will be successful,” he said. “Why am I confident? One hundred and thirty four people, organizations and businesses have made a direct donation to us already, more than 600 people have attended or supported the events we have held so far and a number of people have made pledge commitments of more than $60,000.”

Mr. Currier said he has heard some rumblings about what is taking so long, but he said in order to ensure the club is successful, they are intentionally being deliberate in their approach.

“It’s very important for people to realize, setting up a corporation, and taking the necessary steps to a successful opening and ensuring this club is here to stay and serve our kids for generations is a great deal of work. Longevity is our goal,” he said. “So we are being deliberate in our approach, making sure that every step we take is carefully planned and executed to ensure our long-term success.”

Mr. Currier continued, “I know people care about kids here in Massena. I know it from conversations people have with me about the club. I know it when someone tells me about a kid they are worried about. I know it when I am approached by someone who asks, ‘How can I help?’”

The chamber’s annual Business Leadership Award was presented to Eli Tarbell, of the Tarbell Management Group. Mr. Tarbell thanked God for the success of the family’s businesses, noting that faith has played a large part in their success.

“First and foremost the most important thing to me is God and having a relationship with his son, Jesus Christ,” he said. “Without that, it wouldn’t be possible to do what we do.”

Mr. Tarbell introduced several members of his family who were in attendance, and even some that weren’t, as well as his family’s more than 350 employees.

“Without our staff and our employees, we’re nothing,” he said.

Presenting Mr. Tarbell with the award was William Orlando.

“In 1953, Theresa Bear, as she was affectionately known, started a small business with two gas pumps and a souvenir shop on the St. Regis Mohawk territory to support her children. During the St. Lawrence Seaway Development project her business grew and she ran a boarding house and a snack bar, selling burgers and pizzas,” he said. “All the while she instilled in her family an ethic of hard work and determination to achieve success.”

What grew from that one business now includes two more full-service fueling stations, two Tim Horton’s Cafe and Bake Shops, a Papa John’s Pizza, the Gold-Winning Comfort Inn and Suites, Mohawk Distribution, Heart to Heart Fitness and more.

“Employees of Tarbell Management Group speak of Eli’s kindness, his respect for them as individuals, as well as molding team players. Eli is known for his generosity and his faith in the next generation of Tarbells. He has earned the trust and loyalty of those around him,” Mr. Orlando said. “He is a true business leader, living every day what he learned from his mother - believe in family spirit, exceed customer’s expectations and always learn, teach and grow.”

This year’s Volunteer of the Year award was presented by Associate Director Penny Pullmain to Kassidy Ross, who had stepped to the front of the room with a camera ready to take pictures for the chamber.

Ms. Pullmain noted Ms. Ross has been a volunteer for the past three years, often working at the Winter Carnival, Easter egg hunt, Heritage Festival, car show and block dance, Wildlife Festival and Santa Comes to Massena events.

“Not only does this individual sign up for a shift at an event, but most times she will stay for the entire day,” she said. “This individual is a pleasure to work with, never a complaint and when finished with one assignment, asks what else needs to be done. When the event is over they are right there to get everything cleaned up and returned to the chamber office.”

Ms. Pullmain noted the chamber relies heavily on all its volunteers and without them many of its events would not be possible. But for going above and beyond, Ms. Ross was named this year’s Volunteer of the Year.

The chamber also presented four community support awards to Enbridge-St. Lawrence Gas, the Coupal family, Nate and Marion Witkop and Larry Prashaw.

Business longevity awards were presented to Pease and Gustafson, as well as MX Fuels for 25 years, Sacred Heart Church and Massena Savings & Loan for 90 years, and the Massena Rod and Gun Club for 100 years.

The evening was emceed by Sanford T. “Sandy” Cook, who joked early in the evening about the banquet’s date.

“This year the chamber board decided to hold the banquet in April, hoping there wouldn’t be any snow and it would be a little warmer,” he said. “Oh well, we tried.”

On a more serious note at the close of the evening, Mr. Cook wrapped up with remarks by saying, “We are all here tonight for the same reason. We believe in the future of Massena.”

The evening also included a silent auction, as well as a live auction that raised $5,200.

Chamber of Commerce President Miriam Catapano also used the evening to announce the unveiling of the Massena Business/Police Partnership Program.

“The Massena Police Department is launching a new program this spring to instill dialogue between the village businesses and the department,” she said. “Once a month, a uniformed police officer will visit your business to meet with you. The officer will share important information about crime trends or safety-related issues.”

She continued, “In turn, this will give business owners the opportunity to exchange concerns or questions by having a direct link to the police department. This program is endorsed by the Massena chamber and reinforces the importance of your chamber’s serving as a liaison to the government on your behalf.”

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