Awards presented at chamber banquet

Shawn Hardy
Honorees at the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet Thursday evening included, from left, H. Martin 'Marty' Zimmerman, James P. Oliver Award; Gay Buchanan, Community Gem; and Garon Gembe, Chamber Gem. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT.

Three people were honored for their service during the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet Thursday evening.

H. Marty "Marty" Zimmerman of Harold M. Zimmerman and Son Funeral Home received the chamber's highest honor, the James P. Oliver Award; Garon Gembe of Graphics Universal was recognized as the Chamber Gem; and Gay Buchanan was honored as the Community Gem.

The theme for the banquet was "Trailer Blazers" and the speaker was Blaise Alexander, founder of the car dealerships that bear his name, including the one in Greencastle.

Alexander gave a humor-filled account of his life and business career, while imparting lessons that have helped his dealerships grow to half a billion dollars in sales.

 The honorees 

  • The James P. Oliver Award recognizes "a person, who through their company or organization, has contributed personal time and service beyond normal community service."

It is named for the businessman and community leader who died in 1992 and "to walk in his shoes is a high honor," said Georgina Cranston, the chamber's executive director.

Through his work, Zimmerman has "touched all of our lives in time of sorrow with grace and dignity," Crantson said.

She noted Zimmerman has also served on the chamber board and has been involved with the Greencastle Lions Club.

He is a legacy recipient, whose parents Harold and Jean Zimmerman, received the award in 2005.

Zimmerman thanked his oldest son H. Martin "Marty" Zimmerman III, who nominated him; his wife, Marcie for her understanding as their personal life was sacrificed for the business; mother Jean, the family matriarch who at 91 still tells him what to do; and the good part-time employees who have worked at the funeral home over the years.

"I enjoyed serving the community and will continue to serve," said Zimmerman, who noted he and his late father have served the community for over 70 years.

  • Gembe was cited for involvement with the chamber, including having served on the chamber board — with a term as president, serving on committees, donating time and sponsoring events, as well as making the chamber look good through printed products.

"We could not do what we do without you," Cranston said, adding, "He is one of the nicest men I've ever met."

Gembe said the recognition was "quite an honor and a surprise."

Volunteering and community service are important for his family and "I learned from my Mom and Dad (Nancy Gembe and the late Gary Gembe) to give back," Gembe said.

"So many people here support me," he said to those at the banquet.

  • Buchanan was honored as the Community Gem. She has long been involved with Heritage Christmas, spearheading the house tour for a number of years.

"She loves this community," Cranston said, detailing Buchanan's work with Martin's Mill Bridge and the Conococheague Institute. "She's worked tirelessly for many years and never says 'no.'"