The Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce will honor nine businesses and individuals at the annual Chamber Awards Gala on Friday, June 8, at the Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston. The annual awards gala begins at 6 p.m. and includes an evening of live music, a silent auction, table wines donated by local wineries and businesses, and hors d'oeuvres, followed by a sit-down dinner and awards program.
2012 Town of Lewiston Citizen of the Year
The Niagara Powerlifting Club was chosen by Town of Lewiston Supervisor Steven Reiter as the 2012 Town of Lewiston Citizen of the Year. This dedicated group of volunteers work together to raise money for the Military Family Support Group of the New York Air National Guard in Niagara Falls, and more recently for military family support groups throughout Western New York.
The Niagara Powerlifting Club and its many friends and families volunteer their time and effort for what is a very deserving cause. They want to show our troops that the communities of Western New York and powerlifters from all over the United States support our men and women fighting overseas.
The club started in 1996, training in Niagara Falls with approximately eight lifters. Since then, it has grown to 18 members who train and volunteer regularly. The first competitions were held in Lewiston at the Red Brick Municipal Building eight years ago to help raise money for the Lewiston Recreation Department. The first year of the "The Red Brick Bench Press Championship" raised approximately $1,200.
Competition coordinator Dennis Brochey read an article about troops needing assistance and talked with a few other team members about raising money to help the troops and their families. As word spread about helping military families, more competitors signed up to participate. This year marked the largest competition, held in February at the Connecticut Street Armory in Buffalo, with 140 competitors.
The competition has grown in size over the years and was moved from Lewiston to Buffalo to accommodate more participants, volunteers and spectators for the annual event. The Red Brick Bench Press Championship is the largest one in the eastern U.S., and the only one of its kind that raises all the funds for the troops. Sponsorships, competition fees, a basket auction and concessions all help to raise funds. Sponsors are listed on a banner that is sent overseas so the troops could see who helped support the effort.
The Military Family Support Group tries to take care of military families who may be going through a hardship while their brave loved ones are away overseas. This can be done in many ways, such as sending packages overseas from a family to a specific soldier. This package may include hard-to-find items such as candy bars, phone cards, and even pictures of their families, possibly even a picture of a new addition to their family. They also use the money raised for them to have holiday parties (Halloween, Christmas, etc.) for military children. One big party they have is a "welcome home party." They have military family picnics that are normally paid for by each military family, but because of the past support, most of it has been covered.
The Niagara Powerlifting Club also awards the Outstanding Lifter Awards at the competition in honor of fallen WNY soldiers. Each award winner is given a plaque in honor of the fallen soldier. Many individual soldiers' families come to the event to help make the presentation. Dennis has personally met the families and heard their stories about their son or daughter.
The Town of Lewiston and the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce are proud to honor this great group of volunteers as the 2012 Town of Lewiston Citizen of the Year.