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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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County chamber honors Brasher couple, North Country Savings Bank CEO


CANTON – Nearly 230 people at the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Annual dinner Thursday night looked on as the chamber presented its three highest awards: Canton-Potsdam Hospital was named 2012 Business of the Year, John and Maureen Ward received the Commitment to Community Award, and David Swanson, president and CEO of North Country Savings Bank, was honored as Volunteer of the Year.

The Canton-Potsdam Hospital award had been announced previously, while the volunteer and community commitment awards were surprises until they were given out during the dinner at SUNY Potsdam.

Commitment to Community

St. Lawrence County Administrator Karen St. Hilaire presented the Commitment to Community Award to Brasher Falls’ John and Mary Ward, for their “vigorous organizing and promotion of St. Lawrence County community celebrations.”

The couple started St. Regis Realty in late 2005, bringing investors together to revitalize downtown Brasher Falls. Today, Tri-Town IGA, Spirits of Downtown wine and liquor store, a medical clinic, and the Riverview Bar and Restaurant are among the businesses on Brasher’s main streets, and a tradition of community events and celebrations has taken hold.

Most recently, the Wards were instrumental in organizing the first Hometown Heroes Muskie Challenge, a nationally-recognized event that brought soldiers from Fort Drum to fish the town’s nearby rivers for a day in September.

Volunteer of the Year

David Swanson, president and CEO of North Country Savings Bank and Canton resident, was honored as Volunteer of the Year for his “passionate and steadfast support of angling initiatives in St. Lawrence County and beyond.”

Don Meissner, host of PBS’s Streamside and coordinator of the county’s FISHCAP initiative, presented the award to his longtime friend and fellow fisherman.

A member of the FISHCAP advisory board and a devoted angler, Swanson has taken on a range of roles – from videographer to advisor to fishing guide to fundraiser – in helping promote local fishing and fishing events.

Business of the Year

Canton-Potsdam Hospital was named the county’s 2012 Business of the Year, in acknowledgement of its “extraordinary and selfless dedication to the health care needs of the St. Lawrence County community, our businesses and our people.”

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