Lockport Mayor Michelle Roman will present the 18th annual Key to the Locks Award to Charles Begley in a public ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20, at the Erie Canal Discovery Center, 24 Church St., Lockport. The public is invited to attend.
A volunteer selection panel drawn from the Lockport community chose Begley to receive the award for his decades of volunteer community service and teaching about Lockport and Erie Canal.
Begley volunteers as a tour docent for the Lockport Locks Heritage District, and as a Step Back In Time player (depicting historic Lockport and Erie Canal personages) for the Niagara History Center. He organizes the John & Dianne Koplas Series for the Lockport Public Library, and has served on both the library board and the History Center board. For many years, he was a popular teacher at Lockport High School and Niagara University.
The annual Key to the Locks Award was established in 2006 to recognize persons in Niagara County who exemplify the community spirit – or promote the heritage or preservation – of the historic Erie Canal.
The 2022 winner was Jacqueline Connelly, who was chosen for her years of volunteer service to the Locks District improvements. Previous winners included: Michael W. Tucker and Robin Brock; David Kinyon; Jane Whitmore; Clinton J. Starke; Becky Burns; Joseph A. Whalen; Jeffery Degnan; Carol Schmelz; Rosemary Bernard; Dianne Koplas; Joel M. Beyer; David M. Chatt; Charlene Bower; John McKee; Bill and Peggy Mayberry; and George Fritz.