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Grand Island Chamber of Commerce: Kinney, Watz to receive Citizen of the Year awards

by jmaloni
Fri, Mar 29th 2013 03:50 pm

The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce will honor Beverly Kinney and Jim Watz on Thursday, April 25, as Citizens of the Year.

Watz will receive the Performing Arts Award, while Kinney will receive the Community Service Award.

The awards honor those who have made Grand Island a better place to live. The ceremony will be held at the Holiday Inn Grand Island with WIVB-TV Channel 4 Luke Moretti serving as master of ceremonies.

Jim Watz

Watz is founder and president of the Grand Island Community Chorus. Under the direction of Carolyn Lokken and accompanied by Kathy DeGlopper, the chorus gives three concerts each year, including a concert last spring with the Buffalo State College Philharmonia orchestra and student choral groups. The group also regularly performs at health care facilities and at civic, charitable, and community events such as the town tree lighting, inaugural ceremony, Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances, and the Thanksgiving Ecumenical Service.

Each year the chorus awards a scholarship to a graduating Grand Island High School senior who plans to pursue choral music in college.

Watz graduated from Canisius College and Boston College Law School, and served as a captain in the U.S. Army and associate professor of law at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During his legal career with Phillips Lytle LLP, he was active in professional and pro bono work and was an adjunct instructor of business law at the University at Buffalo.

Watz has served on the St. Stephen R.C. Church Parish Council, School Advisory Board and School Finance Committee, and is a member of the Grand Island Historical Society and Friends of the Library. He enjoys being a tour guide and volunteer at Old Fort Niagara, and participates in fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Western New York.

Watz was chairman of the board of the Christian Foundation for the Performing Arts (Festival Chorus under Doug Wendt).

Beverly A. Kinney

Kinney has worked in the Grand Island community in many capacities for more than 20 years. She is well known on Grand Island for activities connected with the Grand Island Chamber, where she has held offices for 14 years. She has served on the executive board in the roles of chamber president, vice president, second vice president, secretary and director.

She has also helped the chamber by serving on committees such as budget, telephone book, Youth Ambassador, chamber scholarship, Island, Happenings, KidBiz, marketing and membership, the Sesquicentennial Ball, co-chair of economic development and chamber's Relay For Life team. Her background is in marketing and she has used these skills in organizing and developing the marketing programs that make events successful.

The chamber presented her with a plaque of appreciation for outstanding leadership as chamber president from 2005-07. At the Citizen of the Year Awards dinner in 2010, Kinney was presented with a special award on behalf of the entire board of directors for her outstanding leadership by Chamber President Eric Fiebelkorn. "She is one of those incredible people that make Grand Island a wonderful community to live in," he said.

She was presented with proclamations and citations from Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Erie County Executive Chris Collins, Erie County Legislator Michele M. Iannello, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt and the Grand Island Town Board for outstanding leadership in 2008.

Kinney was awarded the Grand Island Business and Professional Women Chapter's ORT Inc. Award for Women in business, Effective Leadership Award 2007-08. She is a member of the Grand Island Business and Professional Women Board and is currently its treasurer.

Kinney sits on the board for the PROI Foundation Inc., which funds research in cancer, provides money for women who wish to attend medical school for an M.D. or medical Ph.D., and money for those who could otherwise not afford to have chemo sensitivity and resistance testing, founded by Sherry Bradford.

Kinney was appointed by the Grand Island Town Board to the Economic Development Advisory Board and served for more than nine years, including five years as co-chair. She currently serves as secretary of EDAB. She was instrumental in developing marketing tools for the Town of Grand Island.

She serves on the board for Dollars for Scholars, which raises funds for scholarships for Grand Island residents. The Dollars for Scholars organization works with participating colleges nationwide to secure matching funds for many of the scholarship recipients.

Kinney has been a renter/operator of her own business, operating out of Carol Ann's Hair Fashion for 20 years. This is her 46th year as a working hairdresser. Carol Ann's Hair Fashion has been sponsor of many community events for the last 14 years. Kinney is a Variety Club member and has been actively involved with raising funds with Carol Ann's owner, Maria Liaros, and staff, Pat, Kathy and Angie, raising more than $30,000 for the Variety Club, which supports the Woman & Children's Hospital and SABAH, to name two.

Kinney actively supports MercyFlight, which she feels is vital to Grand Island in emergency situations that require immediate travel to a trauma hospital. She also is a member of the Charles N. DeGlopper VFW Post Woman's Auxiliary.

Kinney is a longtime Island resident and a graduate of Grand Island High School. She comes from a large extended family, of five brothers: Jim, John, Mike, Ray and Sean; and two sisters: Lori and Mary Ann; two nieces: Savannah and Briana; four nephews: John Paul, Eric, Josh and Derek. She is the proud mother of a son, Wayne, who resides in Orlando with his wife Dianne and two children, Sebastian and Grant.

She misses her mom, longtime Island resident Betty Brinda, who passed away this past year. "I love you Mom and miss you more than words can say," Kinney said.


Tickets to the Citizen of the Year Awards Ceremony are $45 and are available to purchase at the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Office, located at 2257 Grand Island Blvd., or by calling in a reservation to 716-773-3651.

The chamber thanked the following businesses for supporting the event: platinum sponsors the Holiday Inn Grand Island and Niagara Frontier Publications; gold sponsor Life Technologies; silver sponsors Toshiba Business Solutions and Key Bank; bronze sponsors Aceti's Wine and Spirits, Sam Long Landscaping and Excavating, Liz Wilbert of Realty USA, Creative Leather Concepts and Island Ship Center, McMahon's Family Restaurant, Mr. Best Wrench, Riverside Federal Credit Union, Citizens Bank, SNAP Fitness, First Niagara Bank, Grand Island Optical and Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, and Elderwood Health Care at Riverwood.

If a business would like to join these businesses in supporting the Citizen of the Year Awards Ceremony with a platinum sponsorship of $2,000, gold sponsorship of $1,000, silver sponsorship of $500 or a bronze sponsorship of $300, it can contact the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce at 716-773-3651.

Citizens of the Year

  • Educator of the Year - Marty Allen
  • Ministry - Rev. Kevin Backus
  • Community Service Award - Beverly Kinney
  • Civic Person of the Year - Paul Leuchner
  • Performing Arts Award - Jim Watz
  • Business of the Year - Wavelengths
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Linda Tufillaro

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