OSWEGO – The Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council recently presented its 2013 Tourism Ambassador Hall of Fame Awards to three individuals for their extraordinary support and commitment of time and energy to the Oswego County tourism industry.
David Rath, chairman of the Tourism Advisory Council, presented the awards to Robert Green of Fulton, James Hotchkiss of Mexico, and County Legislator Morris Sorbello, District 23, of Granby.
In addition, the council recognized outgoing County Legislator Louella LeClair, District 25, Fulton, for her many years of support of the tourism industry in Oswego County.
“Bob Green is one of the longest serving members of TAC, having been appointed in 2005,” said Rath. “He graciously donates his time to volunteer at consumer shows, the fish hatchery open house, and events at Camp Hollis. A retired engineer and veteran of World War II, Bob remains involved in many community organizations in Oswego County. He is known for his beautifully handcrafted guide boats and restored canoes which he displays at events around the county. He has inspired countless youths and adults and is always happy to share his wealth of knowledge and experiences with visitors and residents alike.”
Hotchkiss has been the driving force behind the restoration of the Starr Clark Tin Shop and Underground Railroad Museum in the village of Mexico.
“Jim led local efforts for the Mexico Historical Society to secure grant funds to stabilize and restore the original tin shop on Main Street, which served as a village meeting place and was the site of abolitionist activity for decades,” said Rath. “Jim recognized the importance of preserving the heritage and structural integrity of the building, and researched maps, historical documents, and items that represent Mexico’s role in the Underground Railroad. He and his wife, Brenda, have spent countless hours supervising the restoration, working in the building and bringing it back to its former appearance.”
Jim is deputy mayor for the village of Mexico and a member of the Central New York Regional Tourism Committee.
He served for 12 years as mayor of North Syracuse before returning to Oswego County.
County Legislator Sorbello has represented District 23 in Granby for 14 years, from 1996 to 2003, and from 2008 to the present.
“Morris has served as chairman of the legislature, and chairman and vice chair of the legislature’s Economic Development and Planning Committee,” said Rath. “A lifelong farmer, Morris has served on the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, Farm Bureau, Airport Advisory Committee, Syracuse Regional Airport Authority, and the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board. He is a longtime member of the Tourism Advisory Council and a strong advocate of the tourism department and the tourism industry in Oswego County. Morris makes sure that Oswego County’s agricultural products are well represented at the county and state fairs. He is frequently seen helping out at the tourism building at the Oswego County Fair in Sandy Creek.”
Legislator LeClair, the outgoing chairwoman of the legislature’s Economic Development and Planning Committee, was presented a special achievement award for her support of the tourism industry in Oswego County.
“As chairwoman and vice chairwoman of the Economic Development and Planning Committee, Louella has done so much to promote the tourism industry and encourage tourism development in Oswego County,” said Rath. “She has dedicated many hours over the years to represent Oswego County tourism at consumer shows and events in Syracuse and Oswego County, and we look forward to her continuing to work with us as a volunteer.”
The Tourism Advisory Council has presented tourism ambassador awards since 1995.
Among the past recipients are county legislators Shawn Doyle and Shane Broadwell, Fred Kuepper, the Bridgehouse Brats, Dick and Naneen Drosse, Fran Verdoliva, Barbara Lighthall, Margaret Clerkin, LeClair, Mercedes Niess, Rath, James Wright, Paul Lear, Mike Redding, Doug Ververs, Donald Feck, Hank Cosselman, Fred Crisafulli, Capt. Dick Pfund, Shirley Guenthner, Jim Walker, Tim Nekritz, Barbara Egelston, Charles Krupke, Sandy Resnick, Helen Chetney and Edwin Lighthall.
The council presented an honorary lifetime achievement award to Krupke in 2007.
Members of the Tourism Advisory Council are appointed by the chairman of the county legislature and represent businesses, museums and historic sites, events and attractions throughout Oswego County.