The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation presented its 25th John D. Hamilton Community Service Award to Lakewood resident, Randall (Randy) J. Sweeney during a reception at the Chautauqua Suites on September 7.
For 20 years, Randy has served as executive director of the Foundation, a position he will retire from at the end of the year. Prior to joining the Foundation, he worked his way up from bagging groceries to becoming vice president of sales at the former Quality Markets.
Randy attributes much of his success to his parents.
“My parents have been good role models in what I was able to accomplish in my life,” Randy said. “They instilled in me a good work ethic; many times it did not feel like work, we actually thought we were having fun!”
Growing up in Panama, Randy, and his brother, spent much of their youth at his grandparents’ farm down the road from his house doing chores.
“When you live in Panama, your whole world is Panama,” Randy said.
After graduating from Panama Central School, he became the first in his family to attend college, graduating from Jamestown Community College and continuing at SUNY Fredonia to earn his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
In addition to his work at the Foundation, Randy has volunteered his time at many local organizations including The Robert H. Jackson Center, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, Rotary Club of Jamestown and Jamestown Church of Christ.
According to Bridget Johnson, John D. Hamilton Community Service Award Committee chair, it can be assumed that a person whose job description focuses on working with the community does so because it is a professional expectation. However, there is a difference between one’s vocation and passion.
“If you have a passion for going above and beyond because of a willingness to understand and help others, you have set yourself apart. If you have demonstrated a unique sensitivity to the impact of social forces and worked toward beneficial changes for all, you have set yourself apart. If you are motivated by a desire to make a community better and healthier, you have set yourself apart,” Bridget said.
“Randy has set himself apart, joining others who, like him, exemplify the wisdom and integrity for which John Hamilton was recognized.”
The John D. Hamilton Community Service Award is presented annually to an individual, or group, whose dedication, leadership and support in furthering community spirit enhances the quality of life in the Chautauqua region.