Bellefonte chamber honors duo’s work with inaugural Excellence Awards

Renee Brown and Gary Hoover didn’t see it coming.

They expected to honor a few of the Bellefonte Intervalley Area Chamber of Commerce members at the chamber’s 76th annual luncheon meeting.

The chamber turned the tables on Brown and Hoover for their contributions with its first Excellence Awards.

“It was certainly a surprise, and I’m certainly humbled by the award, humbled that the chamber would consider me for the award,” Brown said.

“I just enjoy doing anything that’s for the betterment of the community.”

Hoover is the chamber’s executive director and Brown is an information specialist at the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The chamber also honored three members at the luncheon — two for their contributions to the chamber and one for his commitment to community service.

JoAnn and Richard Knupp were named lifetime members of the chamber.

The Knupps are 24-year, four-time members of the chamber as owners of the McCafferty House Bed and Breakfast, Care For People and Care For People Plus. JoAnn Knupp is also a Realtor.

“We certainly appreciate that, because we’ve always believed in the chamber of commerce,” JoAnn Knupp said.

“Any business that wants to be known should be with the chamber, and not every business does that. They have that opportunity.”

JoAnn Knupp said they have moved back to Bellefonte three times.

“I’m 100 percent a Bellefonte person, even though I grew up in Centre Hall,” JoAnn Knupp said.

“I moved here as a junior in high school, and we’ve moved away a few times and kept coming back. We’re not leaving again. In fact, they’re going to have to take me out of here in a box.”

The chamber also honored Nick Lingenfelter with the Community Service Award.

Lingenfelter, vice president and marketing manager for First National Bank, has served as the chamber’s president.

He currently serves on its board of directors.

Lingenfelter’s community service work resume includes working with the board of directors for the United Way and with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County, which provides housing to individuals.

“It really is great to see the smile on someone’s face when you’re doing something good for the community,” Lingenfelter said.

“We were working the FaithCentre for Day of Caring, and we were doing such minimal things when people were smiling and thanking us. My parents have always been volunteers, and it’s been taught to me to just constantly give back. You can never give enough back to your community.”