By LIBBY CUDMORE • The Freeman’s Journal & Hometown Oneonta
EDMESTON – When she was 16, Joanna Draper had a brain tumor removed and was in a coma for a month. Though she recovered, her short-term memory was all but gone, dashing her hopes of continuing to perform in musical theater.
But now, you can find her serenading customers at the Pathfinder Village bakery and café, where she has worked for two years. “I’m doing so well that they let me work here,” she said. “I sing to the customers. I give them a hug if they’re having a bad day. It’s about treating people how I want to be treated, with kindness and a smile.”
“Her parents recognized that she would fit in here as a hire, not as a service recipient,” said CEO Paul Landers. “And since she started working here, her neurologist has seen her memory improving.”
ONEONTA – The crowd rose to its feet with a roaring applause at the annual Otsego County Chamber of Commerce dinner Thursday evening as Betty Bettiol made her way to the podium to accept the Distinguished Citizen Award, given posthumously to her husband, Eugene A. Bettiol Sr.
Accepting the award for her husband that was named in honor of her late son, Gene Bettiol, Jr., was an emotional moment for everyone in attendance, most of which knew Gene through many years of business in Oneonta.
Betty, her daughter Jaci, and her two grandsons Ryan Laytham and Eric Michelitch took to the stage to accept the award, with Jaci making an acceptance speech in her father’s honor.
“My father was not fond of receiving recognition, and would always say, ‘it’s not my time’,” said Jaci. “Well dad, time is up, and this is for you.”
ONEONTA – NBT Bank will be honored as the NYCM Insurance Distinguished Business of the Year at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, Thursday, May 3, at Foothills, beginning at 5:45 p.m., the chamber announced today.
Earlier, it was announced that Eugene A. Bettiol Sr., who passed away in December, will received the Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen Award named for his son and sponsored by Bassett Healthcare.
The evening’s theme is “Supporting Entrepreneurial Spirit in Otsego County.”