Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara recently celebrated "Continuing to Strive for Success" at its annual membership meeting and awards dinner.
Honored as 2002 Employer of the Year were the Wegmans locations on Sheridan Drive in Amherst and on Military Road in Niagara Falls. Both employ seven individuals through the agency's employment program and have gone beyond what is required to employ people with disabilities. Wegmans also donates to picnics and holiday parties for the agency.
The 2002 Customer of the Year was awarded to DiCamillo Baking Co. in Niagara Falls for providing steady work for the past 20 years in the vocational services program. More than 100 people with disabilities package and label the bakery's product.
The Community Service Award was presented to Upstate Pharmacy in West Seneca and Lodge 41, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, in Lockport.
Elks Lodge 41 has been involved with the Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara Foundation since 1999 and generously supported the organization's capital campaign for a new facility in Lockport. Additionally, the lodge holds an annual bingo fund-raiser to benefit the foundation.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Carolyn Smeal of Niagara Falls.
Smeal has been involved with the agency for more than 30 years and has served on the board of directors and other agency committees. She retired from the board last year but took on the role as chairwoman of the 2003 Membership Campaign, sharing her story of her children's involvement with Opportunities Unlimited.
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation received the Accommodation Award for installing a pathway from Buffalo Avenue to the pedestrian bridge. The Rainbow of Opportunities Award was presented to Gov. George E. Pataki for initiating New York State CARES (Creating Alternatives in Residential Environments and Services). The Hunter Family Philanthropist of the Year Award went to Prime Outlets Mall for providing space for the Opportunities Unlimited holiday gift-wrap booth.
Consumers of the Year, recognized for the personal growth they have achieved over the past year, were: Michael Danni, Bruce Garver, Frank Kelly, Sharon Walters, Hector Otero, Frank Faltisco, James Murphy, Geoff Holly, Annette Faltisco, Lena Miller and Beverly Jo Raff.
Daniel Krolewski, son of Joseph and Joanne Krolewski of Youngstown, and Stefanie Haouck, daughter of Larry and Dawn Houck of Lockport, have been accepted into the Honors Program at Niagara University. Both also will receive university scholarships.
Daniel will graduate from Niagara Catholic High School and plans to study education and mathematics when he begins his education at Niagara University in the fall.
Stefanie will graduate from Starpoint High School and will be studying elementary education in the fall.