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Mon Valley Chamber awards something to cheer about

Mon Valley Chamber of Commerce award winners are (from left) World Kitchen LLC for “outstanding business development,' represented by Don Good; Community Action Southwest for “regional service,” represented by Darlene Bigler; Shamrock Chemical and McGinley Maintenance, represented by Bud McGinley; and Shining Star Bill Lee.

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By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The annual Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce awards banquet this month allowed the group to cheer on and share in the success of other local businesses.

“Whenever they achieve something, we want to share in their success,” said Deb Keefer, executive director at the chamber of commerce. “We just feel that it's important. ... It's a lot of fun, and it's a joyful time.”

The Charleroi-based chamber represents 315 businesses in Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette and Allegheny Counties and strives to enhance the quality of life and business climate in the mid-Mon Valley.

Several businesses and people were honored at the annual awards banquet Sept. 12 at the Anthony M. Lombardi Education Conference Center at Mon Valley Hospital. About 125 people attended.

Honored were: World Kitchen LLC for “outstanding business development”; Shamrock Chemical for “excellence in business”; Community Action Southwest for “regional service”; and William “Bill” Lee as “Shining Star.”

The chamber of commerce's 22-person board of directors selected the recipients.

The “Shining Star Award” is given to a chamber member who displays “outstanding personal and professional attributes,” the chamber said.

Lee, this year's awardee, is a consultant for Lee Supply, the mayor of Speers and a volunteer.

“He volunteers — he does Meals on Wheels, he does the food bank, he cuts grass at the church,” Keefer said. “He's a consummate volunteer.”

He also serves on “very important” boards of directors, including the Mon Valley Progress Council, Keefer said.

“He is unbelievably qualified for that Shining Star award,” she said. “He's just a delight, too, to be around.”

At the event, Lee lauded his fellow honorees.

“The Valley has changed, and when the Valley changes, we have to change. ... The chamber has regionalized and that is what we have to do,” he said at the event “We would like to say we'd like to bring the Valley back to where it was – I don't believe that will ever happen — but we sure as hell can make it better. We have to stay involved.”

World Kitchen LLC was recognized for providing jobs and innovation in the region.

“They're doing an innovative product and their standards of manufacturing are excellent,” Keefer said. “(They offer) good jobs that are stimulating our economy.”

Products manufactured at the Charleroi facility include Pyrex measuring cups and pie plates.

Guests at the event were given Pyrex pie plates as their favor. The dishes were “fresh off the production line,” Keefer said.

Shamrock Chemical and McGinley Maintenance have operated in Charleroi 54 years, Keefer said. The company was recognized for “continually and consistently” providing customers with outstanding service, the chamber said.

Human service agency Community Action Southwest was selected for its contribution to the quality of life in the region.

“We focused on what they provide to the mid-Mon Valley, one of the main things is their ‘Head Start' program and early education for kids that might not otherwise get it.”

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or Staff writer Rick Bruni Jr. contributed to this report.

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