A global business preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary, a tourist attraction that brings in over 250,000 visitors a year, a foundation that invested more than $500,000 in nonprofit programming and initiatives in 2012 and a local funeral home celebrating 120 years in business were honored during the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting Thursday afternoon.
The Chamber presented its Business of the Year Award to Burrows Paper Corporation, Promotion Business of the Year Award to Enchanted Forest/Water Safari, Community Development Award to the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and its Milestone Award to Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home during an luncheon attended by a few hundred people at the Knights Inn of Little Falls.
“We are very blessed to have the long-term employees we have,” said Rose Mihaly, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Burrows Paper.
Headquartered in Little Falls, the company employs 1,000 people and has operating facilities in New York, Ohio, Nevada, Iowa, Mississippi, The Netherlands and China.
“The fine employees of Burrows Paper are what drive our family-owned company and we look forward to continuing to grow,” said Mihaly, adding Burrows Paper operates four paper mills and five converting facilities. “We are grateful for the recognition.”
Katie Wojdyla, vice president and director of marketing for Enchanted Forest/Water Safari, said visitors could look forward to a new attraction at Calypso’s Cove this summer. “Visitors will be able to reach speeds of up to 21 miles per hour as they propel across one of our 300 feet long side-by-side zip lines,” she said.
The family-owned Enchanted Forest/Water Safari is the largest water park in New York state, featuring more than 50 rides, including 32 heated water rides, covering 65 acres of Adirondack land in the village of Old Forge.
“As long as the sun shines we do well,” said Wojdyla. “And as long as we continue to bring smiles to people’s faces we will be a success. It’s an honor to receive this award.”
Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties President and Chief Executive Officer Peggy O’Shea said she is often asked what the foundation is.
“The answer I now give people is we are a community development corporation that uses philanthropy as a tool,” she said.
O’Shea said the foundation, which over the last four years has invested $2.9 million in Herkimer County, was honored and excited to receive the award.
“It speaks to our leadership’s work and commitment to making investments in the community that will show long-term impact in not only economic development, but in education, the arts, culture and health as well,” she said.
Whiter Funeral Company was started in 1893 by H.A. Whiter and was originally in Forestport. The firm relocated in Ilion after a fire and has been in its current location since 1935. The name of the firm was changed to Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home in 1957, and was operated by Howard and Erminia (Whiter) Hendrix. The couple were licensed funeral directors and the parents and grandparents to the current owners, Len and Scott.
Page 2 of 2 - “We’ve been fortunate to serve the community for 120 years,” said Leonard Hendrix.
As the second oldest business in the county, Hendrix said the business began with his great-great grandfather and has been handed down from generation to generation.
“It’s an honor to be able to continue what my family began,” he said.
Chamber Executive Director John Scarano said he would be hard pressed to find recipients equal in stature for next year’s awards.
“All four of these businesses have left their mark on the community,” he said. “Luckily, the Chamber has a full year to find recipients just as worthy for recognition.”
Kenneth Adams, president, chief executive officer and commissioner of Empire State Development, was the guest speaker during the luncheon.