SARANAC LAKE - The Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 88th Annual Meeting June 17 at Hohmeyer's Lake Clear Lodge.
Three local women were honored at the event for a trio of awards - Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Business of the Year.
Barbara Martin of the Women's Civic Chamber took home the coveted designation of Citizen of the Year. Chamber Executive Director Sylvie Nelson said Martin is a shining example of what the award is all about.
"Her life has been dedicated to volunteering for causes she deems important," Nelson said.
"We're very glad to be naming Barbara Martin as Citizen of the Year," she added. "The Citizen of the Year is chosen by past awardees, they get together at a luncheon and review nominations brought forward by the community. And then they discuss who's best to receive this award, which is actually one of the most prestigious awards in Saranac Lake."
Martin was moved by her designation as Citizen of the Year.
"I was flabbergasted," she said. "It's such an honor, it was indescribable." Nelson said the selection committee cited Martin for her past stints as Women's Civic Chamber President, Vice President, Corresponding Secretary and chair of the board. She's also organized the July 4th Kiddie Parade for nearly a decade.
Martin hopes the award will encourage other community members to serve. "Hopefully it inspires more people to actually volunteer their time," she said. "Saranac Lake is just such a great place to live in and the chamber keeping something like this alive for as long as they have, I guess it's a testament to it because yearly they give this away so there's so many people out there who do volunteering."
Gay Relyea picked up the award for Business of the Year. She owns Mountain Gift & Powder on Broadway in Saranac Lake.
"Thanks to her leadership, the Local Merchants Association has been revitalized and they now have their own website," Nelson said. "She's also been instrumental in coordinating information and events with her fellow downtown business owners."
Relyea says the award is important because it shows business owners aren't just out to help themselves.
"I think it's terrific that a small business was chosen," she said. "We are the backbone of our economic community. I was blindsided by it, I really had no idea that I was being thought of in that way."
The evening's third and final award went to Lake Clear business owner and entrepreneur Gloria Volz, who operates Adirondack Organized Solutions.
Nelson says Volz was instrumental in implementing a chamber-wide survey that improved membership services. She also helped chamber staff redesign the visitor center to make it more customer-friendly.
"Gloria's input and her organizational skills have helped us become a better organization and we are grateful for that," Nelson said. "On a personal basis, I am also grateful to Gloria for helping me make my office space more professional."
The Citizen of the Year award was established in 1975. The other designations were founded two years ago to recognize community members who go above and beyond the call of duty.