The Pine Island Chamber of Commerce honored Nancy Scheinert as the 2016 Pine Island Citizen of the Year at their annual Social and Installation of Officers on Sun., Oct. 30 at the Landmark Inn in Warwick. he Chamber also presented Cheetah Haysom da Parma with a Distinguished Service Award for her book, “Pride and Produce.” Maya Henderson, a Warwick High School Junior, received the Youth Citizen Achievement Award.
Each of the honorees received a plaque from the Chamber and certificates from NY State Senator John Bonacic, County Legislator Paul Ruskiewicz and Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton.
“The Pine Island Chamber Board is an incredible group of amazing people who perpetuate the culture, businesses, and arts of the Pine Island community,” said Warwick Town Justice Nancy DeAngelo who inducted the incoming officers of the Chamber.
Nancy Scheinert – Citizen of the Year
John Redman, a board member of the Pine Island Chamber, introduced Nancy Scheinert as the Pine Island Citizen of the Year. Scheinert serves as a kindergarten instructional aide at Sanfordville Elementary School as well as the community service coordinator for the Warwick Valley High School. She was instrumental in the Job Shadow program which matched kids with businesses that afforded the opportunity to meet employees and learn about different types of careers.
“Nancy has made a difference in the Pine Island community. She has coordinated the volunteers for the Black Dirt Feast since its inception,” said Peter Hall, who with his wife, Sondra, started the Black Dirt Feast, now a project of the Chamber.
Scheinert also is a past-president of the Pine Island PTA. She has served as the Director of the Pine Island Recreation program for the last nine years, organizing activities for children in kindergarten through the eighth grade as well as for families and high school students.
“I am humbled and deeply honored to be the recipient of the 2016 Pine Island Citizen of the Year by the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce. Being shown you are appreciated is one of the simplest yet most incredible things you can ever experience. The award is shared with countless others in our community with whom I have worked or volunteered with throughout the years. When asked why I have done what I do, it’s very simple. It is what we are called to do, sharing our talents and time with others in our community,” said Scheinert
Cheetah Haysom da Parma
Leonard DeBuck, President of the Pine Island Chamber, introduced Cheetah Haysom da Parma who received the Distinguished Service Award. Da Parma’s book, “Pride and Produce,” is a factual fair presentation of the Black Dirt area which covers its origin, family pride, the problems faced by the farmers and the importance of the area.
DeBuck spoke of her contribution to the Chamber, serving as President, starting the Chamber’s newsletter with Peter Hall, procuring plants to beautify the Pine Island community and distributing a survey identifying the needs of the community.
“In fact, it was writing the Chamber’s newsletter with the help from Peter Hall for many years that made me realize how interesting and how important the Black Dirt area was and how few people knew its significance to the tri-state region,” said Cheetah Haysom da Parma.
She was appreciative of the assistance received from Peter Hall in the preparation of her book, the help of historian John Ruskiewicz, and the assistance of the local farmers who shared their knowledge and expertise. She also thanked her husband, Don, who encouraged and supported her through the three years it took her to research and write the book.
Maya Henderson Receives Youth Achievement Award
Joseph Maggio, Treasurer of the Chamber, and retired high school math teacher, spoke about the accomplishments of Maya Henderson, who received the Youth Citizen Achievement Award. Henderson has been a member of the 4-H since kindergarten. Together with other club members, she has volunteered in Pine Island, Warwick and beyond.
Her activities included gleaning apples and tomatoes at area farms for food pantries, making cards for Mission #11 Hudson Valley Honor Flight Veterans and helping Farm Aid 2011. She also volunteered at a Warwick Valley Gardeners’ Plant Sale and helped put together 60 bagged lunches for guests at a local community dinner as well as provided and assisted children with a craft at Pumpkinfest, put up holiday decorations in Pine Island and helped establish the Little Free Libraries in Pine Island Park and Stanley-Deming Park.
She is a member of the marching and concert bands. Recently, Henderson taught an Introduction to Cartooning class to children as a community service project at the Albert Wisner Public Library.
“The fact that I was able to be chosen for such an honorable award means so much to me as I know that I was held to a high standard. Community service is important for anyone and everyone, because we can give our time to those who may be in grave need, and it may even expand our world view-making us appreciate the little things more,” said Henderson. “While recognition is never the goal, it makes me feel good that someone else appreciated the work I was doing.”
Henderson’s mother is very proud of her daughter saying, “It means a lot to my husband and me that Maya is being honored in this way. The concept of our kids caring about and having a desire to help others has always been important to us. When we help others, we as individuals enrich our own lives.”