Many community members and business leaders have made a huge difference in the Saucon Valley area over the last year, as challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic forced changes in the way local residents live their lives.
The Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber of Commerce plans to honor five individuals or groups who’ve gone above and beyond to support the community during the pandemic at its Honors & Hors D’oeuvres Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 25 from 5:15 to 7 p.m.
The event will take place outside at Hellertown’s Dimmick Park Pavilion, with attendees required to remain socially distanced and wear masks except when eating and drinking.
Jessica O’Donnell, Executive Vice President, Affiliated Chambers for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, said this event is now held every two years.
The Hellertown-Lower Saucon Chamber used to hold an annual banquet, but decided six years ago to adapt and provide an opportunity for business owners to be recognized.
O’Donnell said they are trying to keep the event local and celebrate everything the Saucon Valley has done as a community over the last 19 months.
“I think that we are so lucky and fortunate to have so many great business and community leaders within the Hellertown-Lower Saucon community,” she said. “So bringing them all together to elevate, celebrate one another and our accomplishments… It’s just a feel good event.”
O’Donnell said that in terms of this year’s nominees and recipients, a chamber committee made the selections. They complied a list of those who were recognized at the Hellertown Heroes & Lower Saucon Lifesavers virtual event and have given back during the pandemic.
She acknowledged that there are many more people out there in the community who have made a difference during COVID-19.
David Heintzelman, mayor of Hellertown and owner of Heintzelman Funeral Home, will receive the Community Lifestyle Award along with the rest of the funeral home team.
He said he is thankful and appreciative for receiving the award, and happy that the rest of his team is being recognized.
“I’m glad that we are recognized as a team, not just myself,” Heintzelman said. “Being an owner of a funeral home and being mayor of the borough of Hellertown, I have received many accolades. I appreciate all of them, but when I see that my staff and I collectively have received this award, I feel very proud because it also shows that they’re being recognized for their hard work, which they deserve. They’re putting their time and talents on display on off hours.”
He said the funeral home’s staff are often at work behind the scenes setting up numerous events with which they’re associated, including the Saucon Valley Spirit Parade.
Heintzelman said he is looking forward to the gathering of community, and beyond that, to returning to some sense of normalcy.
“It’s trying to get back to some sense of normalcy because we’ve been basically behind the scenes and we haven’t been able to converse except for Zoom meetings,” he said. “At least we can be in an open arena and try to give back to some form of social distancing and talking amongst our group of families and friends in our community.”
Heintzelman said the Chamber of Commerce has also been a blessing during the pandemic.
“They’ve also been able to also support some of the businesses that have really been hurting, such as the restaurants,” he said. “They have been hurting so bad. Some of the money, some of the grant monies, they were very active in trying to procure some of the monies to help them through this difficult time. I give all the accolades to the chamber for all of their efforts and working together to help our community.”
Westley Morris, owner of Saucon Valley Massage Therapy in Hellertown, will be receiving the Good Samaritan Award at the event.
He said he is honored to receive the award, but doesn’t believe he deserves it.
“The reason why I say that I don’t feel as though I deserve it is because I don’t think that I deserve an award just for being a good human,” Morris said. “That’s just who I am.”
Morris said he believes the biggest impact he had on the community during the pandemic was by offering hope, strength, courage, persistence and a belief that things are going to work out “in the midst of a storm.”
He said he is looking forward to showing the rest of his team what it looks like to be a good leader.
“I didn’t have the intentions of a noble cause during the pandemic,” Morris said. “I simply wanted to get outside of my own fear and the only way that I know how to do that is to put positive focus on others; replace my self-centered fear with a positive concern for others.”
The other Honors & Hors D’oeuvres award recipients are the Saucon Valley’s volunteer fire companies–Dewey Fire Company No. 1, Lower Saucon Fire Rescue and Steel City Volunteer Fire Company–who together are receiving the Community Partner Award; the Saucon Valley Community Center, which is receiving the Champion Nonprofit Award; and Black River Farms of Lower Saucon Township, which is receiving the Small Business Leadership Award.
Tickets for the event are $35 per person or $60 per couple. RSVP here, or contact Lauren Bertucci at LaurenB@lehighvalleychamber.org to reserve tickets. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase during the event, with proceeds from the raffles to benefit the chamber’s scholarship fund. Drinks will be sold at a cash bar by Black River Farms and Hellertown’s Lost Tavern Brewing. Hors d’oeuvres and dessert will be provided by Local Mama Catering Company and Brooklyn’s Catering.
The schedule for the evening includes registration, raffles and the cash bar from 5:15 to 6 p.m., with the awards presentation and hors d’oeuvres service to begin thereafter.
Sponsors for the event include Steel Club, Presenting Sponsor; Lost Tavern Brewing, Gold Sponsor; Heintzelman Funeral Home and Saucon Valley Massage Therapy, Silver sponsors; Quest Termite & Pest, Bronze Sponsor; Brooklyn’s Catering, Hors D’Oeuvres & Dessert Sponsor; Sam’s Club of Allentown, Candy Bar & Beverage Sponsor; Black River Farms, Cocktail Mixer Sponsor; and Farmers Insurance-The Wimbish Agency, Music Sponsor.
For more information about Honors & Hor D’oeuvres, visit the Facebook event page.