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First Mike and Kathy Ricketts Leadership Award presented

From left are Jenell Long, Melanie Ricketts, Cindy Reidy, Kathy Ricketts and Cynde Johnson.

The legend of Mike Ricketts was honored at the Chautauqua Leadership Networks (CLN) Annual Meeting recently, by presenting the first Mike & Kathy Ricketts Leadership Award to one of over a dozen of the public’s nominations.

This award is meant to represent an adult leader (s) who exemplifies the meaning of leadership in our community. “We are honored to present the first Mike and Kathy Ricketts Leadership Award to Cindy Reidy, of the Dwyer Chautauqua Veterans Peer to Peer Project,” states Cynde Johnson, CLN Board President. “I’ve witnessed the passion Cindy has for people and especially the ones she represents in the Dwyer program and she is perfect for this award.”

Lauren Peters, Reidy’s nominator, explains Reidy this way: “Dedicated, compassionate, and life-changing are just a few things to describe Cindy Reidy. Cindy is the project coordinator for the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project. Cindy helps U.S. veterans coordinate peer-to-peer activities, assists with collaborating services with agencies around the county, and making sure our veterans get the help they need. I met Cindy about 5 years ago when my neighbor told my United States Marine veteran husband about the program. From the moment we met Cindy, we knew she was doing great things. Cindy is compassionate towards everyone she meets, veteran or not. She goes the extra mile to make sure our veterans get the services they need and deserve and is a great asset to our community. She is a leader in a predominantly male field and possesses the skills it takes to keep a non-profit program going. Cindy organizes monthly activities for our veterans and is often seen working long work hours to get the job done. When Cindy isn’t on the clock, you can find her continuing to make an impact on the individuals around her and always giving a shoulder to lean on. Cindy not only possesses great communication skills, but she also motivates and inspires the people around her. Without Cindy leading the Dwyer group, I don’t know where it would be today. It is a much-needed service and program for our veterans in Chautauqua County and we are lucky to have such an amazing woman leading us on the journey we have endured after the active military life we once lived.”

Among his accomplishments, Mike Ricketts was a 1999 graduate of the Chautauqua Leadership Network, and Kathy noted that he was strong with everything he did. He could just walk into a room and light it up with his spirit and poise.

When Ricketts passed away in the fall of 2022, the family wished to establish a fund to support leadership development throughout Chautauqua County. Representatives of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation reached out to the Chautauqua Leadership Network (CLN) to develop a partnership.

The Mike and Kathy Ricketts Leadership Fund will annually recognize adults demonstrating leadership with a monetary award administered by CLN.

Donations to grow the Mike and Kathy Ricketts Leadership Fund can be made by visiting crcfonline.org/give or mailing a check to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, 418 Spring St., Jamestown, NY 14701.

The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation administers over 700 endowments in support of emerging community needs, charitable organizations, and local students pursuing higher education. For more information visit www.crcfonline.org or contact Lisa Lynde, Donor Services Officer, at 716-661-3390 or llynde@crcfonline.org.

CLN’s goal is to provide a continual supply of people trained in leadership above and beyond the training they have received in their chosen professions.

Since 1993, over 650 local leaders have passed through the Chautauqua Leadership Network leadership development program.

The Chautauqua Leadership Network has created a robust network enriching each member and the resources of our county as a whole. Interested candidates can discover more online at ChautauquaLeadership.org.

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