Saluting ‘Stars Along the Hudson’ 

After a two-year pandemic recess, Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce will return to presenting its annual community awards in person, honoring those featured here.  

A brunch gala, themed “Stars Along the Hudson,” is scheduled for Sunday, June 5, 2022, from 12 noon-4 p.m., at Monteverde at Oldstone in Cortlandt. 

A silent auction and happy hour will run for the duration of the event.   

Tickets and congratulatory journal ads can be purchased by visiting 

Volunteer of the Year Award 

Chapman “Chappy” Manzer, owner of Manzer’s Landscape Design and Development, Inc., epitomizes the concerned citizen whose voluntary efforts enhance our community, including those in our midst who experience hardship.  

During the pandemic, Chappy’s efforts on behalf of the food insecure and first responders earned him recognition by the National Football League’s New York Giants as a “Giant Hero.” Individuals chosen for the honor have proven themselves a true humanitarian who benefited their community when they were most needed. 

Chappy has marshaled friends, local organizations, and restaurants to help those facing food insecurity, raising $45,000 with community volunteers and distributing more than 7,000 meals.  

A grant of $75,000 from Westchester County funded the dissemination of food vouchers for community members, with the support of the Chamber and Peekskill Rotary.  

Chappy is past President of Peekskill Rotary and formed the Peekskill Cherry Blossom Festival to honor the Rotary’s 100th anniversary.   

Quality of Life Award  

The mission of the National Associaiton for the Advancement of Colored People is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights to eliminate race‐based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.  

The Peekskill NAACP has been recognized by the Regional NAACP for its “game-changing” community engagement. “Together we can make effective change” is the rallying cry adopted by by the Peekskill NAACP. 

The organization’s many strong committees, including Civic Engagement, Economic Empowerment, and Education, have fostered keen support in our community. The chapter has received grants for census outreach, which employed youth ambassadors, and for wi-fi hot spots and laptops.  

Chairperson’s Award  

Maureen Whelan joined Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Committee as Treasurer in 2016. She arrived with a wealth of financial experience, having worked for 20 years with such Wall Street firms as JP Morgan and Bankers Trust Co.   

After leaving the corporate world, Maureen worked with an independent Registered Investment Adviser to gain real-world experience in investment planning. This proved invaluable as she founded her own firm, Whelan Financial Planning. She subsequently founded her own firm, Whelan Financial Planning 

Maureen completed the CFP® Certification Professional Education Program, and upholds their principles of integrity, objectivity, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism, and diligence.  

With her numerous contributiojns to the health of the Chamber, Maureen has gone above and beyond in her stewardship of the Chamber’s finances, providing expert analyses for the Board to better assess and guide the Chamber’s fiscal future. 

Young Professional of the Year Award

The Hudson Valley Young Professionals (HVYP) branch of Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce selected Steve Malinski of Holtec (formerly of Entergy) for this honor based on his long-running dedication to the organization. Even with his challenging work schedule at the nuclear power plant at Indian Point, Steve has managed to be an active volunteer who serves on the HVYP Board of Directors. Through Steve’s efforts, HVYP has held productive mixers with his work group, North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN), and he has assisted with other HVYP events.  

Steve began his career in 2011 with Entergy at Indian Point, shortly after obtaining a Master of Engineering degree in Civil Engineering from Cornell University. He continues his engineering role at Holtec, supporting major decommissioning projects. Steve also is a musician, radio host, and an avid photographer around the Hudson Valley. 

Business of the Year Award

Charles J. (Chuck) Newman CLU is the President & Managing Partner of Charles Newman Co., (a Hilb Group company), specializing as an employee benefits broker. Charles Newman Co. is celebrating its 30th year of business serving companies nationwide.

Chuck began his insurance career as an agent of Connecticut Mutual Life, soon forming Charles Newman Co. The company moved to Peekskill, where Chuck is a 3rd generation Newman business owner. Chuck brings to the Chamber incredible “networking-know-how.” During the pandemic, he was responsible for initiating Zoom networking events, demonstrating the value of staying connected. 

Chuck’s experience on boards helps guide the Chamber. His community volunteerism includes Lakeland Education Foundation, Westchester County Bar Foundation, Paramount Center for the Arts, First Hebrew Congregation, Peekskill Arts Center, and Volunteer New York.  

Chuck is dedicated to fundraising to find a cure for Polycystic Kidney Disease, which affects his entire family.

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