“The annual Somerset County Chamber Awards honor community and business leaders who have gone above and beyond to impact others in and around Somerset County,” said Ron Aldom, Executive Director.
“While each award is unique, all recipients share a common trait of leadership and a commitment to making our county a wonderful place to live and work. The chamber is proud to highlight these leaders and recognize all they do for others.
The awards ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. in the Somerset Area School District High School Auditorium. Members of the public are invited to attend and join the chamber in celebrating the achievements of these honorees.
Jaclyn McCusker is to receive the Outstanding Person of the Year award, given to a Somerset County resident for achievements outside of their calling and for public service in a voluntary effort.
McCusker is currently Executive Director of Laurier Arts and a consultant for Aspire Grant & Development LLC. His professional career has included management and executive positions for Fortune 500 companies and private enterprises. She said, however, that she found her true calling in working with the nonprofit sector.
McCusker lives in Somerset with her husband and two sons. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Somerset, actively participates in various community initiatives and enjoys playing her drums when she has a few moments to spare.
Somerset Historic Center
The Betty Haupt Memorial Tourism Award goes to the Somerset Historic Center. This award recognizes a county resident or business that has made a significant effort to promote tourism in Somerset County.
The Somerset Historical Center is Southwestern Pennsylvania’s rural heritage museum, one of more than 25 museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
This museum is unique in that the Somerset County Historical Society partners with the commission to manage the center’s day-to-day operations, programs, tours, gift shop and research library – plus 140 additional acres of land and the Haupt Education Complex — in line with professional museum standards.
More than 3,000 people visit the museum each year and another 9,000 attend the Festival des Journées des Métiers de la Montagne in September. The establishment is open all year round from Wednesday to Saturday. It has four employees.
The Somerset County Ag-Business Award goes to Michael Lynch. This award recognizes a grower, farmer or producer who has played a significant role in branding and promoting Somerset County agriculture and produce in the region and beyond.
Lynch lives near Somerset on a beef and maple farm with his wife, Sherry, and sons Cody and Reagan. His family owns Baer Brothers Maple Camp, collecting sap from more than 5,000 tree taps on Baer’s original woods. They also raise Limousin cattle with Lynch’s parents on a primarily pasture/hay operation.
In addition to farming, Lynch works for Maplepro/CDLUSA as a Regional Sales Representative, where he manages a store and oversees dealerships in the Southern Maple region of the United States. It also assists new and existing maple syrup producers with education, maple syrup making, and help with upgrades.
Lynch is a member of the Somerset County Maple Growers, Somerset County Beef Growers and Somerset County Agricultural Bureau.
Boland will receive the Harold W. Wheeler, Jr. Memorial Humanitarian Award, which recognizes an individual, business or organization for their humanitarian efforts in helping someone in need.
She is currently Director of the Child, Youth and Family Program at St. Paul Christ United Church in Somerset, where she coordinates and implements various church, community and children’s programmes. She also administers the Somerset County Imagination Library program and serves as the local liaison with The Dollywood Foundation.
Boland has over a decade of experience leading evidence-based children’s programs, as well as administration and public relations. She and her husband, Josh, are the parents of two young boys, aged 6 and 4, and they have an adopted 10-month-old daughter.
Donald B. Deaner
Donald B. Deaner will receive the Grant B. Miller Award, which recognizes an individual for any achievement in their business or profession that has a direct benefit to the region.
He is a sixth-generation funeral director who operates Dean Funeral Homes in Berlin, Stoystown and Hooversville. The family business has been serving families in Somerset County for over 200 years.
Deaner is a past president and treasurer of the Somerset County Funeral Directors Association. He is the only funeral director in Somerset County to serve as district governor overseeing eight counties in Pennsylvania and then president of the Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association, one of the nation’s largest state associations.
He also served in the community through his membership in St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Stoystown, La Stoystown Volunteer Fire Company and the Stoystown Lions Club, among other local organizations.
Tracy Todorich, owner of Positive images Spa Boutiques and Lush salon and spa in Windber, is the recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year award. This award is given to an entrepreneur who has started a consumer-focused business in Somerset County.
She opened her business in December 2019, offering several health and beauty businesses under one roof: Lush Salon, Lush Skin and Lash Bar, and Crazy Beautiful Microblading. There are about 12 employees.
The salon also offers Natural Balance massage therapy through a collaboration with therapist/owner Suzanne Hunt.
Todorich is passionate about her business and wants to give back to the community. Her salon raised funds for Windber’s Community Kitchen and Backpacking Program, donated items to residents of Windber Woods, and held an annual toy drive for the Women’s Help Center.
More recently, his company partnered with Operation BeYOutiful to provide spa services to women suffering from medically induced hair loss.
Lee Hoffman, a licensed real estate agent in Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Somerset, is the recipient of the Somerset County Young Gun Award. This award recognizes a person under the age of 40 who has made a significant impact in their profession and in volunteer service to the community.
He grew up in the Brotherton area and graduated in 2007 from the Berlin Brothersvalley School District. He graduated in 2011 from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and became a licensed realtor in March 2012. For the past 10 years he has worked for Berkshire Hathaway Home Servicesformerly Northwood Realty.
Hoffman is the current president of the Cambria Somerset Estate Agents Association, a councilor for Somerset Borough and is active in various community organisations. He lives in Somerset with Renee Eash, his girlfriend and estate partner.
Cheryl Morgan will receive the Workforce Education Star award, given to an educator or corporate representative who has made an impact by connecting students with career opportunities and skilled adult workers with local businesses.
Morgan has developed a team of library staff and volunteers who inspire young people to develop professional skills, inform them of local career opportunities and help adult learners improve their professional skills and career prospects.
She has formed partnerships with other workforce and education partners to fund and deliver a variety of programs, resources and services through the library to help meet current and workforce future. She also spearheaded the creation of the Somerset County Federated Library System’s STEAM initiative program.
His commitment to workforce education includes his participation on the Chamber Workforce Education Committee and Regional Executive Committee of the CSB2 STEM ecosystem.
Henry B. ‘Hank’ Parke
Parke will receive the Somerset Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his career and contributions to community service in Somerset County.
After beginning his professional career at Hidden Valley Resort and Century 21 Realty, Parke became executive director of the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce, where he served for 16 years. He then worked in public relations for PBS Coal and Somerset Trust Co. until his retirement.
His involvement in community service has included positions with 20 different local organizations, including the Salvation Army, Community Foundation of the Alleghenies, Chamber of Commerce Corp. and Somerset Inc. He is also the founder of the Somerset County Rails to Trails Foundation and a life member of the Rotary Club.
Parke and his wife, Linda, have two sons and two daughters, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.