October 4, 2012 at 11:38am
This year, the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce has the privilege to honor an organization and three individuals that have contributed in so many amazing ways to the lives of our communities. These deserving award winners – The Hitchcock Center for the Environment (Legacy Award for Environmental Leadership), Ray Shafie and Chris Riddle (Lifetime Achievement in Business), and Youssef Fadel (Chamber MVP) – help tell a wonderful story about the richness of the Amherst Area and the quality of our membership.
In years past, we’ve come up with a theme for this event. From “Stars of the Valley” to last year’s “Works of Art” the narrative thread was a means to unite the award winners in some cohesive way. This year, we have multiple similarities to highlight and stories to tell.
Perhaps for the first time, we have two foreign born winners – Ray Shafie and Youssef Fadel - both of Middle Eastern heritage. Coincidentally, Chris Riddle also spent a long time in Tunisia, where he met his wife and began his career. Chris’s architecture practice has always been environmentally mindful, striving to create the most energy conscious works. Ray, Youssef, and Chris all have strong connections to their community and give considerable time to charitable work or to directly helping others.
The Hitchcock Center has been committed to teaching us how to be stewards of our environment. It is a center of our community, in which the mission is to create a better world. While “Think globally, act locally” has become a cliché, all four of our honorees exemplify how to do it.
I’m really proud of our award winners. The diversity, experience, and richness that they bring to the Amherst Area make me proud to live and work here, and are indicative of the quality of our Chamber membership.