by Jessica Reynolds Contributing Writer
The Daily Star
---- — The Future for Oneonta Foundation recognized the Oneonta Job Corps and six Properties of Merit Award winners Wednesday at its Annual Community Leadership Reception.
Chris Kuhn, Director of Job Corps, said that receiving the Organization of the Year award was the highlight of his month, if not year, and that he was humbled.
“It makes me want to do a better job,” Kuhn said.
He also thanked his staff for all their hard work in making the organization successful.
Chair of the FOF, Sarah Patterson, said that Job Corps is the nation’s largest residential education and vocational training program for economically disadvantaged youth. The organization teaches young people the skills they need to become employable.
The 2013 Properties of Merit Award categories and winners were:
∙ Historic: 57 Dietz Street
∙ Residential: 10 Harrison Ave
∙ New/Improved Business-The Shops at Ford and Main
∙ Landscaping: 5 Sand Street
∙ Most Improved: 120 Center Street
∙ New Eatery: East End Cafe and Laundry
Patty Bettiol and her twin sister Paula, known in Oneonta as the “Patton Twins,” received the most votes of any category and went on to win best new eatery for their East End Café and Laundry. Patty said that her father had owned the Laundromat for 40 years and the sisters would often see customers bring in coffee or pastries. That’s when, Bettiol said, they decided to make their own café for the laundromat.
“It was meant to be, everything just came together, down to the paint color,” Bettiol said excitedly.
She said she was very happy to receive the award, as well as the most votes.
Properties of Merit Award winners received a framed award certificate, as well as a 25 dollar gift certificate to Lowe’s. The reception, held at the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center in Oneonta, was a time to honor these winners and allow fellow Oneontans a time to mingle and meet one another. It was sponsored by FOF and The Daily Star.
Patterson said the mission of the Future for Oneonta Foundation, which was founded in 1989, is to improve the quality of living for citizens of the greater Oneonta area. More than $400,000 has been invested by FOF towards that goal.
The Board of Directors for FOF this year are: Ryan Brooks, Dr. Diane Georgeson, Susan R. Hughson, Dick Miller, Kim Muller, and Geoffrey Smith. Executive Manager is Carol Mahon, Vice-Chair is Diane Aaronson, Treasurer is Benjamin Nesbitt, and Secretary is David Brenner.
Big winner Kuhn said that he believes the city of Oneonta “just gets it” in regards to coming together as a whole to better the community.
So how did his business, Job Corps, become the Organization of the Year?
“We are one organization in town with a diverse student body and young people who are energetic and motivated to be a part of the community,” Kuhn said.
He said he loves living in Oneonta and appreciates the partnerships that allow organizations, like Job Corps, to be successful.