Driving force: Couple honored by NCCF for work in city

Submitted Photo Mary and Steve Rees were the recipients this year of the George B. Weaver Footprints Award.

Earlier this week, the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation held its 36th annual meeting, which was followed by their presentation of the George B. Weaver Footprints Award. This year, the recipients were Steve and Mary Rees, who were recognized for their contributions to Revitalize Dunkirk, and other philanthropic endeavors within the area.

Steve and Mary Rees were recognized with the award at the meeting Tuesday, featuring a video presentation where several colleagues and their son, Dylan, spoke about their achievements and their impact on the community, both as volunteers and friends. Dylan Rees said he believes Revitalize Dunkirk has been their biggest accomplishment thus far.

“I feel their most significant accomplishment has been bringing people together with their Revitalize Dunkirk,” he said. “I know that since the inception of that program, they have been key organizers in helping to keep people on task and recruit and make sure the efforts of the organization move forward.”

Everyone who spoke about the couple during the video presentation remarked on what amazing people they are, above their volunteer service.

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Rick Davis, the executive director of the 1891 Fredonia Opera House said that he’s fortunate to be able to call them friends. “Steve and Mary are just really great people,” he said. “It’s an honor and really a thrill to know them and be able to count them as friends.”

Steve and Mary Rees were on hand at the ceremony, with Mary saying that many of the previous winners are their friends, putting them in exalted company, and Steve expressing his thanks to the NCCF foundation, for the award and their efforts to Revitalize Dunkirk.

“I want to express our thanks to the foundation, not only for the award but for having, in the past, granting Revitalize Dunkirk three grants that have helped us do those things that everybody is raving about in the video we just saw,” he said.

Rees said he’s pleased they were able to do things like put trash cans in Dunkirk, and plant trees in Wright Park and Point Gratiot, which he said wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the NCCF.

The George B. Weaver Footprints Award recognizes those who create footprints for others to follow, exemplifying the NCCF’s mission of enhancing northern Chautauqua County. Award nominees should have a history of community service, philanthropic endeavors, and activities that have made an impact and have enhanced the social and cultural climate of the northern Chautauqua Community. The award has been given out for 12 years, and the 2021 award recipients were Kathy and Peter George.

More information about the George B. Weaver Footprints Award can be found at https://www.nccfoundation.org/footprints-award, while the video presentation about Steve and Mary Rees can be viewed in its entirety here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIA2cIfLp1k.


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