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Connellsville chamber gears up for big awards night

| Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 7:30 a.m.

The Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce will host its awards ceremony on Tuesday, celebrating the continued success of the organization while recognizing area groups and individuals for their contributions and achievements.

“We'll be awarding several awards that night,” Greater Connellsville Chamber manager Ronn Hall said, adding that an award committee selects the winners based on the nominations received.

Awards to be presented include: Distinguished Citizen Award, Community Service Group Award, Community Service Individual Award, and Beautification and Special Recognition awards.

One of the highlights of the evening will be presentation of the Athena Award, a special national award that will be marking its 25th year with the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce.

“The Athena Award is a special award to show the support for women leaders and business professionals in our Connellsville area,” awards committee chairwoman and past Athena Award winner Gretchen Mundorff said. “This award really champions those women who have found a voice, who are true leaders in the community.”

The national Athena Award, founded in 1982, is named for the Greek mythology goddess Athena, known for her wisdom and courage, and is presented to a woman, or man, who is honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

“It was an honor to have received it,” 2007 Athena winner Lori Kaczmarek of Armstrong Cable said. “I feel honored to share this award with some of the most prestigious women in the area who have accomplished so much in so many areas.”

“I felt honored when I was awarded the Athena award,” 2000 Athena winner Robin Bubarth, owner of Bud Murphy's, said. “It's about encouraging and supporting women. It's about mentoring.”

All of the awards will be presented during a dinner ceremony at Bell's Steakhouse.

The Athena Award was sponsored by business members in the community who made it possible for the group to again present the golden sculpture.

“We are very fortunate here in the Connellsville community to have people that are generous and supportive,” Mundorff said. “It's really a love piece of art.”

The names of the award winners are kept secret until the night of the event.

“We try to keep it all a secret if we possibly can,” Mundorff said. “It's always fun when we get to surprise someone.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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