Dave Helsel said he was told to show up at The Casino at Lakemont Park on Friday morning because someone was getting an award he may want to witness.
Turned out it was him.
Helsel, the owner and operator of CTR Supply, Duncansville, was named Small Business Person of the Year by the Blair County Chamber of Commerce at its annual meeting, where six awards were presented for business accomplishments and community service.
About 300 people attended the meeting.
Helsel came on board as manager of CTR on April 1, 1980. After overseeing the operation for two years, he bought the dealership in July 1982.
"For the past 31 years he has been a pillar of the business community and now serves over 2,000 customers in central Pennsylvania," said Pat Labriola, a branch manager for Altoona First Savings Bank, which sponsors the award.
Helsel has served as Blair County Community Action Agency president, a Greenfield Township supervisor and on numerous chamber boards.
He said the award was totally unexpected.
"I was lucky enough to buy a small business years ago and am still driving the truck delivering propane and whatever I have to do to make it grow. It has been a pleasure to be in business for all of these years," Helsel said.
Amy Seltzer, owner of Seltzer Financial Strategies LLC, Altoona, was named winner of the Athena Award, which recognizes women for professional accomplishment, devotion to the community and assistance to other women in fulfilling leadership potential.
"I have never been at a loss for words in my life. I am thrilled to be in the category of women up here before me. Wow, I don't know what to say," Seltzer said. "What matters to me is community. It is not about the money, it is about making a difference and helping people. You have to give and give back. I believe in it and I believe in all of you."
Altoona Mayor William Schirf was named winner of the Donna D. Gority Servant Leadership Award, given to a person in the community who makes a difference by choosing to serve first and then lead.
"To be recognized for this award is a treasure to me, I will always hold deep in my heart," Schirf said. "I have dedicated my life to the city. My wife, Kathy, and I have been involved in the community for about 70 years. Both of us have shared a lot of time in a lot of organizations. For 70 years we have shared together giving back to our community."
The George Award for volunteerism was presented to Charles Brenneman of Williamsburg, who in 1995 helped to design and build the Williamsburg Farm Show building. He also serves as church superintendent and lay speaker at Canoe Creek United Methodist Church, among other volunteer activities.
Brenneman, 84, said he was humbled by the recognition.
"I appreciate what is being done but I don't think I deserve it. Any little thing I have helped with has benefited me more than the recipients," Brenneman said. "I enjoy being a volunteer for the good of the community, our township and whatever I have been involved in."
Also honored were:
n Jim Oswalt, who has played a key role with the Chamber's BASICS program. Oswalt received the Joseph P. Rosenhamer Chamber Spirit Award, which honors an individual who personifies the mission and ideals of the chamber.
n Timothy "T.J." Knob Jr., of Lee Industries, Philipsburg. Knob received the GRYP IMPACT Award, which stands for Inspire, Motivate, Participate, Active, Compassionate and Talent and recognizes a young professional with these qualities.
n Kelly Ritchey, account supervisor and farm consultant for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau. Ritchey was recognized in October as winner of the Agricultural Community Excellence Award given to those who achieve a level of excellence in promoting the role agriculture plays in the county's economy.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.