Truly, a success story of American Exceptionalism! He is one of our own and we are deeply and justly proud of him. Daniel R. Gernatt Sr., a resident of Collins, New York will mark his 93rd birthday on February 7. What a significant milestone in one's life!
Mr. Gernatt Sr., is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Gernatt Family of Companies, a major supplier of aggregates and asphalt products for public and private projects throughout Western New York, Northern Pennsylvania and beyond. From the time of his youth Mr. Gernatt has had a faith in his Lord and confidence in achieving the possibility. He is a gentleman of vision, hope and values and a creative American entrepreneur of exceptional accomplishment. He is, indeed, a warm, genuine, compassionate and humble gentleman of the people, with the people, and for the people! And we honor Mr. Gernatt on his 93rd birthday - indeed a truly successful humble gentleman, a gracious benefactor, a sincere neighbor, and a kind and compassionate friend of many!
Mr. Gernatt, "Dan" has touched the lives, hearts and minds of hundreds upon hundreds of individuals throughout these many years. He has a great zest for life and lives by his life time motto of "live and let live." He possesses a deeply felt love for his God, a genuine commitment to his Church, a devotion and affection for his family, sincere allegiance for his community and, a forthright dedication to his country. He is a role model of virtue and a symbol of par excellence for others to emulate. He is truly an illustrious example of the endurance of the American free-enterprise system of entrepreneurship at its very best. The many intrinsic contributions he has made to this community and to other area communities are truly endemic of this distinguished gentleman who holds to the dream " let each individual become all of which he is capable of being". Mr. Gernatt has a dedicated respect and love for people and he takes to heart the needs and well being of individuals and their families as well as a giving spirit to institutions and organizations which are dedicated to serving the needs of humanity. Truly, he has been the "silent" partner in helping people where and when their need is greatest . Indeed, through the years, hundreds of individuals and their families have been and are the recipients of the generosity of this kind, thoughtful, and unassuming gentleman.
Daniel R. Gernatt
Dan's dedicated passion, work ethic, drive and genuine spirit of "do unto others" speaks to the virtue of this gentleman. His love for "country" and his spirit of genuine patriotism speak to the finest of the American tradition. It is this kind of generous spirit that has helped to make America the great country it is today. His uncompromising sense of values based upon solid principles of goodness and giving, serve as the inspiration for many to emulate. It is just such a role model which serves to inspire other individuals to strive to reach their goals and to become the best their ability can attain.
Born into a farming family of 10 children, Dan learned early as a young boy the value of work, morality, character, family and faith. He grew and learned as a young man of 17 the value of resilience and endurance. First, as a 4-H project, he entered the turkey raising industry. He learned about turkeys from the turkeys themselves and his business prospered and quadrupled within the first year. The turkey raising business was a success because Dan worked, learned and improved the business as it grew. These are the earmarks of enterprising growth and transformational leadership. He discovered well the powerful, invisible hand of the free market system at work. Mr. Gernatt combined the knowledge gained through early entrepreneurship as a turkey farmer, dairy farmer, (then the largest dairy farm in Erie County) grain hauler, and thence, to build the foundation for the highly successful Gernatt Family of Companies-one of the largest sand and gravel producers in New York State. Dan Gernatt, as a dairy farmer, began marketing gravel items from his farm in 1946. In 1955, he established the Dan Gernatt Gravel Products, Inc. In 1961, Gernatt Asphalt Products, Inc. was formed. Then, Country Side Sand and Gravel followed in 1964. What a success story based upon hard work and long hours. The Gernatt companies have a long history of involvement in Western New York projects such as the New York State Thruway, Ralph Wilson Stadium, Dunn Tire Park, HSBC Arena, and The Southern Tier Expressway. The Gernatt Companies have grown to include operations in Chaffee, Delevan, Freedom, Gowanda, Great Valley, Hanover, South Dayton, and Springville. Truly, an American success story.
Anywhere in New York State and throughout the United States where trotters and pacers have entertained nightly, harness racing fans know the name of "Collins". The Dan Gernatt Farm was the home of several hundred outstanding world class horses who carried the last name of "Collins". Dan loved horses then, as he does today. He was proud of his horses and took great pride in their record achievement and breeding. There again, Dan learned much about horses from the horses themselves as he worked with them and took pride in each one of them. For it is this principle of mastery learning that served Dan well as he augmented his learning by "rolling up his sleeves" and watching, listening, and doing in the "school of life experiences".
Mr. Gernatt, began his life in humble surroundings 93 year ago. He exemplifies with great dignity the genuine qualities of an innovative entrepreneur based upon a solid work ethic. Truly, a wise statesman, a compassionate gentleman with values and a vision, a caring and generous employer, a friend to many and a very dear friend of Lillian, and most significantly, with faith in God, a dedicated and deeply committed father and grandfather and a loving husband to his devoted wife Flavia with whom he celebrated over 57 years of marriage before her passing in 1995. Mr. Daniel R. Gernatt, "Happy 93rd Birthday"! He is truly a gentleman of the people, with the people, and for the people. And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.
Dr. Robert L. Heichberger is professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Fredonia and distinguished professor at Capella University in Minneapolis, MN. He is an author of several books and a number of journal articles and was founder, producer and moderator of the radio show "Focus on Education. Dr. Heichberger is a frequent lecturer and motivational speaker and is involved as a policy and leadership consultant in matters of public policy , leadership and organizational issues. He is the co-author of a book entitled FIVE YEARS ON THE CUTTING EDGE published by Townhall Press. All of the past columns can be viewed on www.fromourperspective.net/ Send comments to: Rheich@aol.com.