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Wellsburg chamber honors some of its own at dinner

AWARDED — The Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce awarded its Citizen of the Year Award Saturday. Chamber president Luke Diserio, left, presented the award to Norman Schwertfeger. -- Amy Neeley

WELLSBURG — The Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce took time Saturday night to honor some of its own, holding its annual dinner event and recognizing the Business of the Year and the Citizen of the Year.

“We try to pick those who do a lot of good but don’t want the recognition,” chamber President Luke Diserio said. “This is our day to honor them.”

Diserio said they held the voting differently this year.

“We changed the way we voted,” he said. “Instead of just the board voting, we asked people in the community and those who came to the meetings.”

The first award of the night was the Business of the Year award. The honor was awarded to Mark Cooper, owner of Drovers Inn. He beat out the Family Roots Farm and Waldorf Distribution to take home the award.

Cooper told the story of a being turned down over and over for a business loan until he was able to find someone willing to take a chance on a 27-year-old man.

He shared stories of digging out what is now the tavern by hand and carrying out the dirt in five gallon buckets.

“The best advice I can give any of you is to think proactively, not reactively,” he said.

The final award for the evening was the Citizen of the Year. The nominees included Robert Morris, Fred Marino and Norman Schwertfeger. Schwertfeger took the honor for 2019.

The chamber thanked him for his many years of service to the city and Brooke County, including his years as a county commissioner and the millions of dollars of grant funding he helped bring to the area. Schwertfeger thanked those in the room for the honor.

“These are the people on my team,” he said. “We work together, we support each other, and we try and get things done.”

Diserio said this was the third year for the dinner and said it was bigger than ever.

“We are up 25 percent in donations and this is the highest attendance yet,” he said. “The sponsor gifts are the best we have ever had. I just want to thank everyone.”

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