Chamber banquet features James P. Oliver and ‘Gem’ awards

Shawn Hardy
Award winners at the annual Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce banquet are, from left, Ken and Bonnie Shockey, James P. Oliver Award; Marie Eshleman, Community Gem; and Cindy Marconi, Chamber Gem.

Community stars were honored at the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet, which had a movie theme and was held in the B Street 104 banquet room, the former Gem Theatre, Thursday evening.

The James P. Oliver Award, the chamber’s highest honor, was presented to Ken and Bonnie Shockey; Cindy Marconi was recognized as the Chamber Gem; and Marie Eshleman was named the Community Gem.

The Oliver award has been presented annually since 1992 in honor of the late businessman and Greencastle Borough Council member.

“This award is given in honor of Jim Oliver, who through his work as president of Eagle Construction and his many community leadership positions, most exemplifies the spirit of community, leadership, entrepreneurship, civic duty and volunteerism,” said Georgina Cranston, the chamber’s executive director.

Cranston called the Shockeys “the face of Greencastle history” through their work with Allison-Antrim Museum and involvement in Old Home Week. In addition, they are the stewards of the Paul K. and Anna E. Shockey Foundation, which has provided grants to numerous community organizations.

Bonnie Shockey said they were humbled and honored to receive the award. Married for 48 years, the Shockeys both grew up in Antrim Township and graduated from Greencastle-Antrim High School.

“This community, once you’re here, it grows on you,” said Shockey, who added the spirit of Old Home Week is “something you can’t explain to someone who doesn’t live here.”

“Our Chamber Gem award is given to a person who has gone above and beyond the call of duty and who always answers the call when an extra pair of hands are needed, who provides leadership and a sprit of community through their work and volunteerism at the chamber and in the community,” Cranston said.

Marconi works at F&M Trust and serves on the chamber board. Cranston said she has shown great leadership and helped bring the chamber through some difficult times.

Marconi said she was blown away to receive the award, is passionate about Greencastle and believes it is a privilege to raise her family and work in the community.

The Community Gem works very quietly behind the scenes to make Greencastle beautiful while seeking no glory for herself, Cranston said.

Eshleman is responsible for planting and care of the flowers on the square, at the post office and at the Interstate 81 visitors center.

*** Chamber update ***

The Shockeys were surprised with the James P. Oliver Award after being asked to attend the banquet for the “past” part of the past, present and future remarks Cranston offered.

Ken Shockey showed a 1992 film on the history of Greencastle based on a script by the late William P. Conrad, narrated by his son, Mike, and based on the Mark Twain Noe paintings of the former First National Bank of Greencastle.

“So much of the landscape is still there,” Cranston commented after the film.

The goal of the chamber today remains to the promote prosperity of its members. The chamber organizes activities throughout the year and is preparing for “the granddaddy of events,” Heritage Christmas in December.

The chamber is on solid ground, has grown by 30-plus new members in each of the last two years and has a 90 percent retention rate, Cranston said.

She talked about networking opportunities the chamber provides, explaining, “If anyone is successful, everyone is successful.”

Current members are “the best reason someone would want to join the chamber,” she added. “You’re great ambassadors.”

Looking to the future, Cranston said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if 100 percent of business were members of the chamber?”