By Grace Bennett
A resounding applause and standing ovation went to a teary Joan Corwin, head of the Chappaqua bus company (Chappaqua Transportation, Inc.,), who received a lifetime achievement award tonight at the first annual Chappaqua Millwood Chamber of Commerce “Chamber Champs” Awards.
Robert Greenstein, head of the Chamber, cited Joan’s well over 30 years of service to the community. He noted her prescient fight for legislation against using cell phones while driving back in 2001 and her most recent Herculean efforts to get the roads open and buses through town following Hurricane Sandy. He said though she employs over 125 people, “Joan knows every bus driver who picks up those kids.”
The first major award of the evening went to Dawn Evans Greenberg as “Volunteer of the Year” for her outstanding work launching the hugely successful Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival. Next, Paula Barbag and her “Consulting for a Cause” were honored as best new business. Paula noted among other things her company’s “drive to help organizations build social enterprises.”
The Making Headway Foundation, which funds research intended to battle pediatric brain cancer, received the best not for profit organization award. Catherine Lepone, executive director, accepted the award and announced that most recent fundraising dollars are being earmarked toward establishing a new lab at NYU Medical Center dedicated to pediatric cancer research.
Finally, Janet Angier, founder and director of Music in Chappaqua, now in its 20th year, headed to the podium next to accept a “Business of the Year” award and gracefully thank the attendees and the Chappaqua community at large for their support.
The first annual Chamber Champs took place following a cocktail hour and over a fine buffet dinner at Crabtree’s Kittle House. Prior to announcing the awards, Rob introduced and honored attendees New York State Assemblyman David Buchwald and County legislator Mike Kaplowitz, each of whom also addressed the merchants and various residents and guests who had gathered.
“The downtown is the heart and soul of the community,” said Rob at the outset, explaining the purpose of the Chamber and the awards. “If it’s not doing well or vibrant, that becomes a reflection of the community.”