OLEAN, NY — Tom Yanetsko has been volunteering for the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce for over 25 years, doing everything from handing out tickets, serving drinks and putting up holiday decorations.
On Sept. 23, Yanetsko was honored with the “Volunteer of the Year” award during at the chamber’s volunteer reception at Tony's Napoli. The award is given to a volunteer who has “shown extraordinary involvement in the chamber and supports the chamber to its fullest.” The event happened during Chamber Week, celebrated Sept. 21-28.
“It is nice to be recognized for the effort that is put forth, but I don’t do it for the recognition,” Yanetsko, a supervisor at Dresser-Rand Group, said. “I do this because I like helping the community and others.”
His wife, Meme Yanetsko, the GOACC's chief operating officer, commented, “(Tom) knows that we appreciate all that he does, but I think it’s great that we can recognize him. Not that he’s doing this for a pat on the back, but after all of Tom’s hard work, it’s nice for some recognition.”
Meme Yanetsko recalled asking Tom to put together and display all of the chamber’s holiday light signs, which she noted, was just one example of the countless hours that he has given to the chamber.
“The public sees the chamber’s name when we put on events,” she said. “But without our volunteers, that would not be possible.”
Tom Yanetsko said that he could not remember an event that he had not volunteered at.
“Everyone is probably thinking, ‘Well, Tom has to volunteer because his wife is the COO of the chamber,' ” he said. “I do help her in any way I can, but it goes beyond that. It is the friendships that you acquire from being with other volunteers and members of the chamber that make it fun.”
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