November 18, 2009
Catholic Charities, HHK honored at Binghamton Chamber luncheon
By My-Ly Nguyen
BINGHAMTON - A sold-out crowd of about 550 people attended the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce's annual Thanksgiving luncheon Tuesday at the Binghamton Regency Hotel and Conference Center.
The chamber presented its Community Advocate Award to Catholic Charities of Broome County for being in the "forefront of responding to the ever-changing needs of our community," whether it's helping the homeless, runaway youth or a variety of other groups in need.
The chamber gave its Corporate Citizen Award to Hinman, Howard & Kattell LLP for its financial commitment to Greater Binghamton and leadership and employee participation in many community events and organizations.
Most notable, the chamber said, was the law firm's sponsorship of the Dick's Sporting Goods Open this past summer, which covered the cost of complimentary admission to the general public for a day of the golf tournament.
The Rev. Joseph Sellepack, executive director of the Broome County Council of Churches, was the event's keynote speaker. Layoffs and other economic woes may make it hard for some to be thankful this holiday season. But only when we are tested can true thankfulness emerge, he said.
Sellepack said he is giving thanks for the region's "great" school systems, his 15-minute commute to anywhere in Broome County and the 140 youth who built wheelchair ramps this summer through his organization.
He got the crowd to laugh when he offered these tips:
* Remember to "round up" for the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse at the grocery checkout. The cashier may be a "surly teenager," but give thanks because "that surly teenager could be your own."
* When stuck at a traffic light behind an elderly driver who missed three opportunities to go, remember someone else may be laying on his or her car horn behind your mother or father.
"This society, culture, place we know as Binghamton has been tried," he said. "Let's be earnestly thankful. ... It is painful out there ... but let's give thanks anyway."
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