CHESTERTOWN - For 31 years, the North Warren Chamber of Commerce has awarded community leaders, local activists and volunteers for their work on behalf of others in bestowing the organization's annual V.I.P. award.
This year, the chamber has continued the tradition by granting the V.I.P. award to Barbara Wilson of Chestertown.
The chamber also announced that they've given the 2011 Small Business of the Year award to Dan and Nancy Freebern, for their enterprise Adirondack Pines Bed & Breakfast.
Both Wilson and the Freeberns will be honored with a dinner and award ceremony from 6 to 9 p.m. May 12 at Jimbo's Club at the Point, Brant Lake.
Wilson was awarded in recognition of her outstanding public service, chamber publicist Nancy Austin said.
Tuesday, Wilson said she was totally surprised by the honor when the news was delivered late last week in person to her home - and she answered the door in her bathrobe.
"For a while, I was uncomprehending - I was 'gobsmacked,'" she said.
Wilson has been instrumental in bringing educational programs to the area, Austin said, that include such offerings as "History Alive," a 2005 event celebrating Veterans, the 2007 "Stitches in Time" quilt exhibit held at the North Warren High School, and a visit of Russian librarians to the area in 2008.
Wilson served as a Charter member of the History Through Voices committee which created a local history audio program that is part of the Chester Library's website. She also helps organize and promote Chester Library's annual wine tasting event, as well as other ongoing programs.
Wilson is past chair of the Friends of the Chester Library, and has been active with the Chester Historical Society, where she assisted with publicity and helped plan a Revolutionary War re-enactment at the Dynamite Hill Recreation Area.