CANTON, OH (Oct. 13, 2009) - The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival General Chairman Alumni Association held its annual dinner on Sept. 23. Current association president and 2006 General Chairman Bill Schauer, emceed the event. The association is comprised of all general chairmen of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Enshrinement Festival committees since the Enshrinement Festival's inception; members offer assistance to the Enshrinement Festival in the areas of sponsor recognition, promoting community awareness and support in planning and producing the annual festivities.
At the annual dinner, Ronald D. Dougherty was awarded the 16th annual Individual Award of Merit in recognition of his "extraordinary leadership, dedication, inspiration and support of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival since its inception in 1963." The Association's policy is to not honor their own members, and while Dougherty served as Enshrinement Festival general chairman in 1992, this award of merit was presented for his service well beyond that capacity. The Alumni Association felt strongly that it would be impossible to ignore Dougherty's dedication and sincerity, along with his desire to assure that the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the annual Enshrinement Festival continue to grow and be successful. The award was kept a secret and came as a complete surprise when presented to Dougherty by Tom Schervish, 1986 general chairman and current chairman of the board for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dougherty's participation goes back as far as 1963 when he and his brother were the Jaycees who carried the opening banner for the grand parade in its inaugural year. Ever since, he has been a significant driving force behind the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Pro Football Hall of Fame by providing extensive legal counsel and serving as unofficial historian. He is past chairman and current member of the Hall's board, and chairs their national fundraising campaign, and he served as interim executive director after the retirement of John Bankert in December 2005. He also currently serves as chairman of the Chamber's Safety Management Committee, and as chairman of the Joint Coordinating Committee.
The 16th annual Corporate Award of Merit was presented to Sugardale/Fresh Mark, a company deeply rooted in the Stark County community since 1920, and strongly supportive of the annual Enshrinement Festival activities for many years. What began as two local provision companies - Sugardale Foods and Superior Brand Meats - has grown into one of the premier meat processing facilities in the country.
Sugardale/FreshMark has been a loyal cash and in-kind sponsor of the Enshrinement Festival since 1995, offering their generous support for the Appreciation Party, Balloon Classic Invitational, 2-Mile and 5-Mile Races and Concert and Fireworks. The company has recognized the importance of the Enshrinement Festival and the economic impact it produces for the Stark County area. Sugardale/FreshMark has been an integral member of the team of community entities who are committed to ensuring the Enshrinement Festival's continued success. The award was presented by John Werren, 1997 general chairman, and accepted by Neil Genshaft, chairman, CEO, who was accompanied by Harry Valentino, president, COO.
Also a tradition at the annual dinner is the initiation into the association of the most recent General Chairman. The ceremonial green jacket was presented by 2008 General Chairman Ken Huot to 2009 General Chairman Barbara Hammontree Bennett, who joins 43 other women and men who have held this prestigious position over the years. She was commended for her extraordinary leadership and dedication to the enhancement and growth of the Enshrinement Festival, and especially congratulated for her "go green" campaign, launched during the 2009 festivities.
Bennett is a native of Stark County and a graduate of Canton Central Catholic High School and the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's in civil engineering. Just a few short years after college, she returned to her hometown and joined the family civil engineering and surveying business of Hammontree & Associates, Limited. She is a registered engineer in Ohio and five other states, and is a registered surveyor in the State of Ohio. In 2010, she will continue to serve the Enshrinement Festival as chairman of the Chamber's Steering Committee.
PHOTO (L TO R): Individual Award of Merit recipient Ronald D. Dougherty; Corporate Award of Merit recipient Neil Genshaft, Chairman/CEO, Sugardale/Fresh Mark; 2009 Enshrinement Festival General Chairman Barbara Hammontree Bennett; Harry Valentino, President/COO, Sugardale/Fresh Mark; Bill Schauer, chairman, General Chairman Alumni Association
Get this news in your inbox
Call Us: (330) 456-7253
Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm
Get Directions Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce222 Market Avenue North,