HUNLOCK CREEK – Small Business Owners, Volunteers, Educators – There is no shortage of motivated, focused and passionate young professionals throughout the Wyoming Valley.
The best and brightest were honored in front of a sea of friends, family and peers (and a sea of honking cars) at the sixth annual Young Professionals Awards, hosted by the Grand Chamber of Commerce. Wyoming Valley at Garden Drive-In.
A total of 12 awards were presented to a number of deserving recipients from all fields and backgrounds.
The event was hosted by Holly Pilcavage and Anthony Melf.
Coal Creative was the presenting sponsor of the awards ceremony.
“We are delighted to be here tonight as a presenting sponsor,” said Pilcavage. “We are delighted to recognize these young professionals from our community who share our values and dedicate their time and talent to enrich our region.
Times Leader Media Group was the media sponsor of the event.
After moving the awards to Garden Drive-In as a COVID-19 necessity last year, the Chamber of Commerce once again hosted this year’s ceremony in Hunlock Creek.
Guests and nominees enjoyed refreshments while everyone waited for the sun to go down, and prepackaged meals were provided by Metz Culinary Management.
Just as the last ray of sunshine faded, the Drive-in’s big screen lit up, welcoming everyone to the ceremony.
Following the introductory video and remarks from the chamber’s Michaela Benczkowski and Ahmad Ali, the show officially started with the evening’s top prize, Intern of the Year, presented by Jackie Kendzor of Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies and won by Medina Saeed of the Diamond City Partnership.
From there, Pilcavage and Melf kept pace from award to award, as a number of prominent young professionals took turns being recognized and receiving their awards.
A handful of laureates offered brief remarks, words of thanks or words of encouragement to future young professionals after receiving their award. Some, like STEAM Professional of the Year winner Thomas Meluskey, did a bit of exercise before stepping onto the podium.
“I’m sorry if I’m out of breath I’ve run this far,” joked Meluskey, who works in property management accounting at Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services. “
One of the night’s top awards, Hero of the Year, went to Wilkes-Barre Town Police Officer Linsay Zarick and Captain Travis Temarantz of the Town of Wilkes Fire Department. Closed off.
In a nice surprise, the two were named the winners, each receiving their own prize.
“I couldn’t even believe I was being considered for this award,” Temarantz said afterwards, sitting with his family (including his father, the Canton of Hanover fire chief Joseph Temarantz) and his own boss. , Jay Delaney from the Wilkes-Barre municipal office. of fire.
After the last scheduled award of the evening – Influencer of the Year, won by Mayor of Laurel Run, Principal of Solomon-Plains Elementary School and NEPA Pride Project co-founder Justin Correll – a few more surprises were in store.
First, the Young Professionals Council announced that Rachael Stark, program coordinator at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and one of the evening’s laureates, will serve as the Young Professionals Vice President for the year 2022-2023.
Then two more awards were to be presented: Pilcavage received the Young Professional Leadership Award and the Young Professional Inspiration Award was won by Christine Mackin-Melusey and Ali.
It was a great night for everyone, and especially for the young stars who are pushing the region forward with their hard work and dedication in the face of such a difficult year.
“COVID-19 sucks, there’s no other way to say it, but I was inspired by all of you,” Stark said as he accepted his Volunteer of the Year award.
“It was so amazing to see the innovative ways people came together to give back to their communities.”
The full list of this year’s Young Professionals Awards winners:
• Intern of the Year – Medina Saeed, Diamond City Partnership
• Educator of the Year – Genelle Sedon, Owner and Director, Tutoring C&G and ESL Program Specialist, Wilkes-Barre Area School District
• Pioneer of the year – Lauren Gorney, owner of Grassroots Development and co-owner of NEPA’rogi
• Small Business Owner of the Year: Matt Borwick, Owner of Ollie’s Restaurant, Atrium and Market Street Burgers
• STEAM Professional of the Year – Thomas Meluskey Jr., Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services
• Professional Development Award – Wyoming Valley Children’s Service Center and Lewith and Freeman Real Estate, Inc.
• Cultural Ambassador of the Year – Joell Yarmel, FM Kirby Center
• Volunteer Leader of the Year – Rachael Stark, Pennsylvania Environmental Council
• Hero of the Year – Linsay Zarick, Town of Wilkes-Barre Police Department and Travis Temarantz, Town of Wilkes-Barre Fire Department
• Female Leadership Award by Athena International – Rachel Wiernusz, Community Bank, NA
• Influencer of the Year – Justin Correll, Mayor of Laurel Run Borough, Principal of Solomon-Plains Elementary School and Co-Founder, NEPA Pride Project
• Young Professionals Leadership Award – Holly Pilcavage, Coal Creative
• Young Professionals Inspiration Award – Christine Mackin-Melusey and Ahmad Ali.