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‘Dreamers who are doers’

Chamber of commerce honors citizens of the year

Skaneateles Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sue Dove, far left, and President Tracie Barnes, second from left, officially proclaim David Sheppard, middle, Ted Astemborski, second from right, and Dan Labeille, far right, the 2011 Skaneateles Citizens of the Year.

Skaneateles Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sue Dove, far left, and President Tracie Barnes, second from left, officially proclaim David Sheppard, middle, Ted Astemborski, second from right, and Dan Labeille, far right, the 2011 Skaneateles Citizens of the Year. Renee Taylor

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Ted Astemborski, left, is surprised by a birthday cake and song during the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Citizen of the Year Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 13, which was also his 80th birthday. Astemborski was named one of the three 2011 award winners, along with Dan Labeille and David Sheppard.

— As Ted Astemborski celebrated his 80th birthday last week, he was given something much more meaningful than a nicely wrapped gift. Astemborski, alongside David Sheppard and Dan Labeille, were named the 2011 Citizens of the Year by the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

With approximately 150 guests filling the Skaneateles Country Club Thursday, Oct. 13, the three men were honored over dinner, cocktails, and a lot of memories shared by family and friends.

“The world needs dreamers, and the world needs doers, but above all, the world needs dreamers who are doers,” said speaker Meg O’Connell, reiterating a phrase she once heard that reminded her of the three men she has known for years. “Tonight’s honorees, to me, all exemplify these words of wisdom.”

Kicking off the night’s speeches, Jim Buff of the Skaneateles Fire Department spoke on behalf of Astemborski, who has spent the past 40 years volunteering for the department.

Aside from being a past president, the captain at Mandana, and treasurer, Astemborski was also named Fireman of the Year in 1996 and Member of the Year in 2000. A charter member of the Skaneateles Ambulance Volunteer Emergency Services (SAVES) since 1967, Astemborski was also “instrumental” in enabling the funding for the Skaneateles Fire House, Buff said.

“It’s been a great honor and pleasure to talk about a person like Ted that you look up to,” Buff said before discussing a number of other accomplishments Astemborski has endured.

Speaking briefly, Astemborski thanked the chamber for the award before he was surprised with a special cake and song commemorating his birthday. “I appreciate [the award], and I accept it on behalf of all of the volunteers of the fire department and the ambulance corps,” he said. “I also want to thank you all for being here on this occasion. This has been quite a birthday party for me.”

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