Kate Crawford was having breakfast one morning with Greater Rostraver Chamber board member Mary Esther Antal and Executive Director Gina Lynn, when Lynn told her of a surprise they had for her – Crawford was chosen as the GRC's community service awardee.
“I cried because everybody at GRC is like family to me,” Crawford said. “They are the greatest friends. And for them to get together and choose me for the community service award means more than they will ever know.”
GRC will hold its annual recognition dinner April 23 at the Willow Room in Rostraver. In addition to Crawford, the chamber will recognize Rostraver Shop ‘N Save as the business of the year and Jamie St. Clair Davis of Salon Eye Candy as the young professional of the year.
The event began in 1975 as the Founders Day Dinner, held by the Rostraver Business Association to recognize those who worked to build the chamber and support the surrounding communities.
In 2009, GRC began honoring a business and an organization at the event. The GRC combined the Founders Day Dinner with additional recognition of a business or organization that actively contributes to the surrounding communities.
“Giving special recognition to the men or women who contribute their time, money and talent to build a stronger chamber and support the surrounding communities has become a time-honored tradition,” said Lynn.
Crawford lives in Rostraver with her husband Steve and their three children, Stephen and twins Lily and Grace. She created a bucket list after being diagnosed in 2013 with stage IV breast cancer.
Crawford's cancer is still stable, although she has dealing with a lot of pain in her spin because the disease caused a fracture.
“Mainly, we've been just trying to get my pain under control,” Crawford said. “As long as I stay busy and my mind's occupied, it's the best medicine.”
Crawford has definitely been staying busy.
Last month she traveled to Atlanta, where she was recognized as one of eight women worldwide named a Pink Power Mom by the Kids II Foundation. They were recognized for their efforts in breast cancer outreach and fundraising.
The award carries a $5,000 donation to the breast cancer association of Crawford's choice, the Magee Research Foundation in Pittsburgh.
She will also be donating a cancer bell so that when women complete their chemotherapy sessions they can ring it to celebrate.
The bell was purchased with proceeds from a lemonade stand she operated last year. Crawford raised more than $12,500 to benefit the Magee Women's Cancer Center.
Last weekend, she traveled to Boston for a fundraiser for Project Sweet Peas, the nonprofit she started in 2009. Crawford stepped down from the nonprofit, which provides support to families with infants in intensive care and to those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss.
Earlier this winter, she hosted a polar plunge in Narragansett, R.I., to raise funds for the cause.
Crawford credited the GRC for supporting her fundraising efforts.
“Kate is one of the most inspirational and amazing women I know,” Lynn said. “Her selection was made easy by her giving spirit to those causes and organizations that touch her life personally. She is a doer.
“When she puts her mind to doing something, nothing stands in her way. Not only does she support her own community, but she supports projects that affect so many other people from so many areas. When you mention Kate's name, people smile in acknowledgement of her kindness and service.”
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Rostraver Shop ‘N Save, located in the Willowbrook Plaza in Rostraver, opened for business in March 2000, relocating from the Kmart Plaza.
It is a family owned and operated business begun in 1973 by Bob and Betty Duritza.
Now retired, their children Bob Jr., Jeff, Laura and Scott currently operate the stores.
The Durtizas first opened the Rostraver Shop ‘N Save in partnership with SuperValu, their wholesale supplier. In 2003 they purchased their portion of the business from SuperValu.
The Duritzas currently operate 11 supermarkets in southwestern Pennsylvania and one in Weirton, W.Va.
The selection of business of the year recognizes outstanding community support, involvement, employment and leadership in the community, Lynn said.
“Our recognition of Rostraver Shop ‘N Save and the Duritza family is of a business that truly represents family and community,” Lynn said. “They are leaders in the business community and supporters of our chamber.”
YOUNG PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR
Jamie St. Clair Davis opened Salon Eye Candy, located at 535 Broad Avenue, Belle Vernon, in February 2012 and has more than a decade of experience.
Salon Eye Candy is a full-service salon that offers a wide range of hair styling and related beauty services, such as manicures and pedicures.
The entire staff is actively involved with the Greater Rostraver Chamber's annual Ladies Night Out event, said Lynn.
“Jamie St. Clair Davis is being recognized as our Young Professional for her success as an entrepreneur who started her business, Salon Eye Candy in 2012, and has shown tremendous growth and sustainability in just a few short years, while balancing a young family,” Lynn said.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 firstname.lastname@example.org.