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Patrick's Pub among award winners at BCEDC meeting



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John Thomas presents the Corporate Soul Award to Patrick’s Pub and Eatery. Wendy, Jeff, Jennifer, and Allan Beetle accept the award. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
March 31, 2010
MEREDITH — The Belknap County Economic Development Council recognized contributors to the community during its annual meeting last week.

Members and supporters of the BCEDC met at the Inn at Church Landing Wednesday night to conduct their annual business, present issues relevant to the regional economy, and give awards to those who have made a difference.

The meeting marked the council's 18th year of service to Belknap County.

Peggy Selig, director of Laconia Adult Education, was presented with the Norman Marsh Award, named after the late Belknap County commissioner who was known to regularly ask former BCEDC Executive Director Eliza Leadbetter, "What have you done for Belknap County today?"

Selig was recognized for her efforts in helping around 120 people annually through evening classes, many of which are striving for their high school diploma.

"Peggy has an innate skill at encouraging high school drop-outs, at any age, to return to earn their precious, yet sometimes elusive, high school diploma or GED certificate," read a speech presented by David Haley.

Selig was additionally recognized for having dual-track courses for students pursuing either a GED or a diploma as well as having English as Second Language courses for the nearly 400 non-English speaking people around the Lakes Region who have arrived as refugees.

"Going well beyond the classroom and administrative domains of her position, Peggy Selig's personal commitment and investment have helped to empower people with the tools, skills, and courage they need to lift themselves out of poverty and social isolation and into a new world filled with opportunity, experience, and lifelong choices," Haley read. "There is no other single person who has better led the crusade against ignorance, illiteracy, and poverty than Peggy Selig. Our community has been made better because of her efforts."

Selig was also presented with the award by Marsh's sons Jim and Mike Marsh.

"I'm really thrilled, (but) it's not just me," Selig said later, also giving credit to her staff of teachers and those who have also been involved. "It's a collaborative effort. The main thing is bringing adults who dropped-out, helping people change their lives. That's what the whole thing is about; making a difference and giving them a chance at life."

Patrick's Pub and Eatery was given the Corporate Soul Award, given to a business or organization with a deep commitment to community.

John Thomas read in his presentation that the company was nominated by many people and as recognized for exemplifying "Social Consciousness."

Thomas read one nomination.

"Their selfless giving and corporate accommodation in helping their neighbors is exemplified in countless activities throughout the year," Thomas read. "Through their fundraising efforts on behalf of victims of natural disasters, domestic abuse, and downward economies, they have redefined civic responsibility and human compassion by raising the bar for others to follow."

Pub owners Jeff and Allan Beetle with Wendy and Jennifer Beetle accepted the award.

Jeff and Allan Beetle later said the award was a nice acknowledgement of their commitment to the area.

"It was a total surprise," Allan Beetle said. "I was here to speak about the WOW trail. It was very special, it was very nice."

Beetle said he has known Thomas for a long time.

"It was nice for him to give us this award," he said.

Lakes Region Community College received the Director's Award. President Mark Edelstein was given the award by BCEDC Chair Tom Garfield for its role in educational, workforce, and community development as well as its expanding programs.

Edelstein also presented an Appreciation Award to Southern New Hampshire University.

SNHU was recognized for its support of the BCEDC by providing it in-kind with office space in its building in Gilford, a partnership that also formed the Lakes Venture Resource Center. The resource center provides a small business incubator with several local partners.

The award was presented to SNHU's Director of Purchasing and Risk Management, Frank Eaton.

Another Appreciation Award was given to Jim Fitzgerald, who is leaving the Board of Directors after nearly six years of service.

Outgoing Chair Tom Garfield was also honored. Garfield has been on the Board of Directors since 2002 and will remain on the board.

In his speech, Milke Persson recognized Garfield's service through a difficult year for the Council, which saw the sale of its building, budgetary issues from the economic downturn, Belknap County's elimination of human resources services to the BCEDC, and implementing a strategic plan during a period of decreased staffing and increased service demand.

"Navigating a rocky terrain of negotiation and change requires diplomacy, openmindedness, and agility," Persson read. "We are indeed fortunate to have had a person with those qualities leading the Council."

Garfield was given a Moxie clock and an alpaca calendar, illustrating his "moxie" in handling issues and his interest in working with alpacas.

The meeting also featured a presentation by Bill Beyer and BCEDC Executive Director Jennifer Boulanger on the acceptance and approval of the Lakes Region Plan for Sustainable Progress by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. This approval creates grant eligibility for some projects identified by the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy process.

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