County chamber honors local philanthropists

Annual Quality in Business, Quality in Living Awards Dinner

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  • The awards ceremony at the Lake Mohawk Country Club on March 23

  • Mohawk House owner Steve Scro, left, and Cassie Kowalchuk of O.S.C.A.R.

  • From left, Sussex County Chamber of Commerce President Tammie Horsfield), Steve Scro and Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Jackie Espinoza.

By Liam Donovan

— The dining hall at the Lake Mohawk Country Club was filled with animated guests last Thursday evening, including many local dignitaries, as the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce commended two local businessmen for their philanthropy and handed out over a dozen other awards during the organization’s 32nd Annual Quality in Business, Quality in Living Awards Dinner.

Steve Scro, owner of the Mohawk House, and Eric Nielsen, principal of the Nielsen Auto Group/Franklin Sussex Auto Mall, together won the chamber’s Philanthropic Award for their efforts in helping O.S.C.A.R. (One Step Closer to Animal Rescue), a local animal rescue organization.

“Cassie, an O.S.C.A.R. volunteer who is here with us tonight, has shared that every time O.S.C.A.R. would see Steve or Eric their first question was ‘What do you need and how can we help?’ Not at all unusual if you know these two individuals,” said Tammie Horsfield, Sussex County Chamber of Commerce President, who presented the award to Scro. Nielsen was traveling.

“Helping the community means everything to me,” Scro said. “Before opening a business my dreams were to do as much as I could in helping and giving.”

Horsfield explained that the philanthropy award is presented to individuals or businesses that generously contribute financial resources from their business or personal sources to a charitable or non-profit organization in Sussex County.

“We’re always looking for volunteers and adopters,” O.S.C.A.R. President Cassie Kowalchuk said. “We’re always looking for people to come help. Steve and Eric do a lot for us, we’re always looking for people to help them as well.”

O.S.C.A.R. is located on Sparta-Stanhope Road in Andover.

“We’ve always loved animals,” Scro said. “It’s an area I feel that’s sometimes forgotten. I like to give more notoriety to it and see more people joining hands. I feel animals are sometimes overlooked.”

Scro and Nielsen also donate to a number of other organizations, including charities involved with veterans, hospitals, food banks, food pantries and more.

“We’re proud to partner up for the greater good of the community,” Scro said.

The chamber also presented awards to numerous other businesses and individuals. The prestigious Chairman’s Award, reserved for that individual or organization that has made an exemplary and/or extraordinary contribution to the county in the past year, was given to the Sussex County C.L.E.A.R. program, The program, spearheaded by law enforcement, the medical profession and experts in drug prevention and rehabilitation, has a stated mission to form a collaborative network of professional in the community who will facilitate medical intervention, improved access to treatment and recovery support for those struggling with drug addiction.

Other award winners included:

Quality in Business Award: CKW and Space Farms Zoo and Museum

Quality in Living Award: Birth Haven

Business Partnership Award: Mountain Creek and the Special Olympics

Community Service Award: Franklin Mutual Insurance

Humanitarian Award: Sussex County Fire Departments and EMS

Volunteer Award: Bob Charlton

Beautification Award: Lake Mohawk Country Club

Customer Service Award: Chatterbox Drive-In

David C. Herzenberg Award: Homestead Rehabilitation and Health Care Center and Barn Hill Care Center

Women in Business Award: Rhona Beadle

Tourism Award: Wild West City

Wellness Award: Sparta Cancer Center

Entrepreneurial Success Award: Bela and Alice Szigethy

Young Professional Award: Tor Andersen and Anastasia Negri

Lifetime Achievement: The Nicholson Family.

Sponsors of the event included Lake Hopatcong Cruises, Thorlabs, Franklin Mutual Insurance, Jersey Central Power & Light, Atlantic Ambulance Corporation, Service Electric Broadband Cable, and Farmside Landscape and Design.

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