The John D. Hamilton Community Service Award is, in essence, what the Community Foundation is all about. It is given every year to an individual who has shown dedication, leadership and support in furthering community spirit and enhancing the quality of life in the Chautauqua Region. This year’s recipient is WJTN’s Jim Roselle, who, for over 50 years, has used his public radio forum to promote the great aspects and people of the Chautauqua Region.
To truly understand how a person becomes deserving of this Award, one must have an understanding of the man for whom the Award was named. John D. Hamilton and community dedication go hand-in-hand. Upon moving to Jamestown in 1948, he thrust himself into a life of community building, advocacy, and leadership and became a servant of the community. He was a business leader, served on many area boards, and was one of the founders of the Gebbie Foundation and Community Foundation. His dedication and leadership led to his awarding of the CRCF’s community service award in 1993. Every year since, the award has been named the John D. Hamilton Community Service Award to honor this truly great man.
John D. Hamilton set the standard for community service, but, where he left off, Jim Roselle has certainly picked up. What started in 1953 as a radio job covering area sports blossomed into a career and life of remote broadcasts, memorable interviews, and daily conversation to brighten everyone’s morning. Some of the many unique places Mr. Roselle has broadcast from include London, the Soviet Union, Austria, Germany, Italy, Macy’s parade, and Disney World. More impressive are the many personalities he has interviewed including then-Governor Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, renowned ethologist Jane Goodall, Lucille Ball, “Meet the Press” moderator Tim Russert, fitness guru Richard Simmons, and the list goes on. No matter where Mr. Roselle has traveled, or whom he has interviewed, he has done so representing the community and has done so well.
What is often overlooked through Mr. Roselle’s day-by-by, on-air accomplishments is his eagerness to volunteer with many different community organizations. He has been a member of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre board for over 20 years, is a member of the James Prendergast Library board, has been chairman of WJTN’s Heart-Radio-Thon and co-chair for the Special Olympics Golf Day; and has been actively involved in United Way Campaign committees, the Sertoma Club, Kiwanis Club of Jamestown, and the Jamestown Boys and Girls Club Alumni. Most dear to his heart is his involvement with the Jamestown Boys and Girls Club. Mr. Roselle built many friendships and spent much of his youth at the club and continues to serve today through board membership, which he has done for over 25 years. He has also demonstrated a great affinity for Chautauqua Institution through the many summer broadcasts he has held there since the mid-1970s.
Through all his success, he has kept his focus on two things: The people he reaches and the communities in which they live. He has been an asset to the greater community for over 50 years, and, as long as he continues to broadcast, the Chautauqua Region can be assured of a “cup of happiness” every morning.
Published in the September 11th edition of the Post-Journal