A growing community spirit in Dunkirk

By TODD TRANUM

President & CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

The true value of grassroots determination has been demonstrated a couple of times this summer in Dunkirk. The Chamber has witnessed a couple of seemingly small, but important projects unfold in the past couple of months.

This past week, the iconic Whispering Giant wooden Indian sculpture was re-dedicated, thanks to the hard work and resolve of a handful of people. Gina Kron from Tim Hortons spearheaded the project. As a member of the Dunkirk Community Chamber of Commerce Board, she brought the Chamber into the picture and corralled others to help with logistics and fundraising. As a result of these efforts, sculptor Peter Wolf Toth returned to Dunkirk to restore the piece he had originally created 40 years ago. The re-dedication included a roundup of local officials and some of us from the Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Seneca Nation of Indians. Efforts are still underway to raise money to build a shelter to help protect the sculpture from the elements at its pedestal on Lake Shore Drive near the Dunkirk water plant. In addition, Peter Wolf Toth is making plans to return to Dunkirk to create an additional sculpture for the community. The Chamber encourages you to support these efforts.

Earlier this summer, the Great Lakes Experience Festival celebrated its second year in Dunkirk. Year two created an even greater buzz in the community, with more activities available, more vendors involved, and a greater turnout than the previous year. Again, the Dunkirk Community Chamber was deeply involved in the planning and implementation for that event. The Chamber looks forward to working with the Great Lakes Experience organization in the future, in this important project that focuses on the critical nature of the Lake Erie environment and our local businesses that make a living from the lake.

Not all events and projects happen on a large scale in Chautauqua County. Many are small, but meaningful, or growing. But they all require hard work and dedication. We salute the Dunkirk Community Chamber of Commerce and the people who make it run. They are committed to improvement in their community, and we are thrilled to be on this journey with them.

Happy 40th birthday Cummins

It was 40 years ago that Cummins Inc. brought the huge, empty Art Metal plant in Lakewood back to life. For four decades, the Jamestown Engine Plant has been an important part of our community.

If Cummins did nothing more than provide the 1,400 family-sustaining jobs that it does at that single facility, it would be a tremendous asset to the community. But Cummins does much more than that. Cummins has become a partner to numerous organizations throughout Chautauqua County.

Cummins employees give back to their community through nonprofit organizations. They also donate their time to many community groups.

As a business, Cummins provides mentoring and educational programs to countless school students. For many years the company has worked with Southwestern Central School students on science and technology projects, and have also partnered with the Dunkirk City School system in a workplace training project. The company is embarking this year on a similar partnership with the Jamestown Public Schools System. Cummins was instrumental in starting up both the Dream It Do It initiative in Chautauqua County and the Chautauqua County Education Coalition.

The company does all of these things while still producing high-quality engines in a work setting that supports employees and their families. Just last year they celebrated the production of 1.5 million engines at the Jamestown plant.

The Chamber salutes Cummins on their 40th anniversary in Chautauqua County and look forward to many more productive years of community partnership with them.

Still a few golf tournament spots remaining

You can still get in a great day of golf with fellow Chamber members at the 2014 Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament, which will be held Thursday at Peek n’ Peak. There are a handful of spots left, but we will need registration by Monday, so call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101, or register online at www.chautauquacham-ber.org.

The Chamber Golf Tournament is being sponsored this year by DFT Communications, Community Bank NA, County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, Cummins, Dahlstrom Roll Form, Fredonia Place, Jamestown Mattress Company, Koester Associates, Lake Shore Savings Bank, Lawley Insurance, Liazon Corporation, National Grid, National Fuel Gas, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, Shults Auto Group and PNC Institutional Investments.

A portion of the proceeds from this annual event benefit the Tom Baressi Scholarship Fund through the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.