UNION, NJ – It was a Beatle’s themed celebration, specifically their hit, “When I’m 64” for the Union Chamber of Commerce’s 64th Annual Ball and Installation of Officers last week at Galloping Hill Caterers.

And this year's award recipients include a business in Maplewood. Woolley Home Solutions received a Business of the Year award. Cozy Corner Deli and Caterers (Pete Celia) in Union also received a Business of the Year award.

Norman Woolley, President of Woolley Home Solutions, said he was honored to be part of the event.

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The award recipients are:

Spirit of Union Award:  George Thomas, Galloping Hill Caterers and Kim Eason, Concerned Citizens of Vauxhall & Vicinity

You Are the Chamber Award:  Cecil Cates

Businesses of the Year Awards:  Woolley Home Solutions (Norman Woolley) and Cozy Corner Deli and Caterers (Pete Celia).

James T. Schaefer Civic Service Award:  Barbara LaMort, Union Township Historical Society

President’s Award:  Spencer Savings Bank

“We are so pleased to see this event grow each year,” said the Chamber’s Executive Director James Masterson. “This event sold out three weeks in advance.” Masterson said about 300 people attended the gala, held on Friday, April 12. “I am fortunate to have an incredible planning committee, comprised of business members, who diligently work to make this event a success. I thank them and all of our sponsors.”

Spirit of Union Award recipient George Thomas, owner of Galloping Hill Caterers in Union, is an icon in the food/restaurant and hospitality industry, according to the evening’s program.  He has owned Galloping Hill Caterers and the Galloping Hill Inn for more than 33 years. “I like the people of Union and I like to help them when they need it,” said Thomas.  Free meals, free parties, donations to charities and fundraising events are just some of the ways in which Thomas gives to others. “We have no idea just how much George Thomas has done for others,” said Sharon Patel, Chamber member and owner of Patel Printing Plus. “He is an awesome example of the philanthropic spirit that permeates the Union community.”

Another Spirit of Union Award winner, Kim Eason, currently serves as the Chair of the Trustee Board for the First Baptist Church of Vauxhall, and is President of the Concerned Citizens of Vauxhall and Vicinity Civic Association, an organization that collaborates with local and state officials to effect change within the Vauxhall section of Union. Eason is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Beta Alpha Omega chapter where she serves as the chapter’s Nominating Committee Chairperson.

Business of the Year Awards are designed for member businesses that consistently remain active participants in the Chamber, are an integral part of the communities they serve, share their expertise, offer their services, provide new initiatives to members and generally continue being enthusiastic members and partners. Businesses of the Year Awards were presented to Woolley Home Solutions (Norman Woolley) and Cozy Corner Deli and Caterers (Pete Celia).

“As usual, it was a wonderful event,” said Norman Woolley, President of Woolley Home Solutions, a fourth-generation family-owned business founded in 1924, then selling coal and ice. “I know many of the honorees so I was humbled to be recognized along with them especially George Thomas, the host for the evening.”

“Our company always strives to make a positive impact on the communities we serve so it was a great honor to receive the Business of the Year Award from the Chamber as we celebrate our 95th year,” added Woolley.  “A company is only as extraordinary as its people so we had all of our employees and their families at the event to help celebrate the accomplishment. This award will always have a special place of honor at our company.”

The Cozy Corner Deli and Caterers opened in June 1988, and their primary focus has never changed: delicious homemade comfort foods. Pete Celia, owner, is especially proud of his courteous and friendly staff, who strive to always exceed customers’ expectations. Celia is known for giving back to the community and has donated countless gift cards and food to schools and non-profit organizations through the Union area.

“I was honored to receive this award,” said Celia. “My whole staff is here with me. I honor them with this award. It means a lot to me.”

Cecil Cates received the You Are the Chamber Award.  Cates is owner and president of CMIT Solutions, a technology franchise serving Northern Union County and the greater New York metropolitan area. “The Chamber is grateful for Cecil’s past and continued service to the Chamber and as Past President, current board member and Chair of its Digital Committee,” read the evening’s program. “Cecil is a true ‘Chamber Champion’, who has given countless hours assisting the Chamber with many of its technology-related needs.

A resident of Union for 64 years, Barbara LaMort received the Union Chamber of Commerce’s James T. Schaefer Distinguished Civic Service Award.  LaMort taught English and Social Studies at Union High School and Kawameeh Middle School.  She is President of the Union Township Historical Society, treasurer of the Diamond Circle, an organization of Union Board of Education employees with 25 or more years of service, and secretary of the Epsilon (Union) Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa. 

The President’s Award was presented to representatives of Spencer Savings Bank. The bank’s continued growth and success is due to a set of beliefs and core values that serve as guideposts in all the bank’s decision making.

“We are honored to be the main event sponsor for such an incredible night which highlights the community spirit and togetherness we also practice at BCB Bank,” said Marie Maguire, Union’s BCB Bank Manager. “We are committed to the community and strive to make an impact just as our well deserving honorees. Congratulations to all.”