OSWEGO – The Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council awarded its 2015 Tourism Ambassador Hall of Fame Awards at its year-end meeting.
This year’s recipients are Oswego County Legislator Jacob A. Mulcahey, District 15; Linda Middleton; and the Oswego County Snowmobile Association.
Arlene Johnson was presented an award in August.
David Rath, chairman of the Tourism Advisory Council; David Turner, director of the Oswego County Community Development, Tourism and Planning Department; and Oswego County Legislator Morris Sorbello, District 23, chairman of the Oswego County Legislature’s Economic Development, Tourism and Planning Committee, were at hand for the presentation.
“These individuals, and this organization, have demonstrated an exceptional commitment of time, energy and support to the tourism industry in Oswego County,” said Rath. “Today, we recognize and thank them for their hard work and dedication.”
Legislator Mulcahey of Oswego is the founder and chairman of the Oswego Paddlefest, a 10-mile recreational event that takes place on the Oswego River between Fulton and the Port City.
It has grown from 80 participants in 2013 to 558 paddlers this year and is now recognized across the state.
Mulcahey has worked tirelessly to expand the event; organizing emergency crews, recruiting volunteers, and soliciting sponsors, vendors and bands for the Rock the Lock event following the paddle.
He has served as a county legislator since 2010; was recognized as one of Oswego County’s “40 under 40” in 2013, and is active in several community organizations.
“Jake is also a member of the Oswego County Legislature’s Economic Development and Planning Committee,” added Sorbello. “His positive attitude, hard work and pride in Oswego County are a driving force behind the Paddlefest event and a tremendous asset to the tourism industry as a whole.”
Middleton of Hastings has advocated for the snowmobiling community at local and state levels for more than a decade.
A member of the Square Valley Trailblazers, she organizes shows and fundraisers to support the club and volunteers to represent Oswego County Tourism at various other meetings and events.
She is a member of the Oswego County Tourism Advisory Council and has served as secretary and treasurer of the Oswego County Snowmobile Association as well as secretary of the New York State Snowmobile Association.
“Linda is always willing to lend her time and expertise to the tourism office and regularly reports on snowmobile legislation and other issues to the Tourism Advisory Council,” said Rath.
The Oswego County Snowmobile Association is comprised of 10 clubs dedicated to bringing snowmobile enthusiasts together to promote and preserve the enjoyment and safety of the sport.
Many of the clubs began more than 30 years ago and have 250 to 1,000 members.
Each year, they plan and host community events near the trails, including torch rides, antique sled shows, bonfires, races and more.
Club members also help the tourism office by lending their expertise on media tours and volunteering at snowmobiling shows.
Club volunteers also dedicate countless hours to maintaining the more than 400 miles of trails in Oswego County.
This includes grooming trails, posting signs, removing trees and branches, repairing storm damage, fixing bridges, and replacing culverts for the safety of all riders.
“Their continuous upkeep and grooming is what contributes to the exceptional reputation of Oswego County’s trails,” said Turner. “Their work is an important part of the county’s tourism economy. With more than 10,000 registered snowmobilers in the county, and less than half of them are local residents, it’s estimated that snowmobiling generates more than $30 million to the local economy during a good winter.”
The Tourism Advisory Council has presented the Tourism Ambassador Awards since 1995.
Past recipients include Oswego County Legislator Margaret Kastler, District 1, Carole Sponable, and Winona Forest Recreation Association in 2014; Robert Green, James Hotchkiss, and Oswego County Legislator Morris Sorbello, District 23 in 2013; Oswego County legislators Shane Broadwell, District 18, Oswego and Shawn Doyle, District 3 in 2012; Bridgehouse Brats of Phoenix, Richard and Naneen Drosse, and Fred Kuepper, 2011; Barbara Lighthall, and Fran Verdoliva, 2010; Margaret Clerkin, Oswego County Legislator Louella LeClair, District 25, Fulton, and Mercedes Niess, 2009; David Rath and James Wright in 2008; Paul Lear, 2007; Mike Redding, 2006; Hank Cosselman, Donald Feck and Doug Ververs, 2005; Fred Crisafulli, 2002; Capt. Dick Pfund, 2001; Shirley Guenthner, 2000; Jim Walker, 1999; Tim Nekritz, 1998; Barbara Egelston and Charles Krupke, 1997; Sandy Resnick, 1996; and Helen Chetney and Edwin Lighthall, 1995.
The council has also presented honorary lifetime achievement awards to Charles Krupke in 2007; Lillian Harter in 2012; and Rose Driscoll in 2014.
Members of the Tourism Advisory Council are appointed by the Oswego County Legislature Chairman and represent businesses, recreational and historic sites and museums, events and attractions throughout Oswego County.