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Hartshorne: A lifetime of sharing

The Lake Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce recognized 93-year-old Harry Hartshorne (2nd from right) with the Stu Herzog Citizen of the Year award.

September 21, 2011 | 10:12 AM
LYONS — Harry Hartshorne has had quite a life and many accomplishments.

The 93-year-old, who is the grandson of one of Lake Geneva's most important historical names, Simeon Chapin, received one more accolade last Thursday night.

Hartshorne was named the 2011 Stu Herzog Outstanding Citizen by the Lake Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce at the annual awards ceremony held Sept. 15.

Chapin started the Geneva Lake Water Safety Patrol in 1920 and also was among a group of lakefront homeowners who started the Horticultural Society and gave land for Horticultural Hall to be built, just to name a few of his accomplishments in the area.

Many years ago, Chapin told Harry, "I don't deserve what I have unless I share it."

According to Grace Eckland, Hartshorne has done just that over the years.

His involvement includes Horticultural Hall, where Eckland said he is referred to as the "Angel of Horticultural Hall." He has supported Music by the Lake, his grandfather's name is on the YMCA pool and he has contributed to such organizations as the Lake Geneva Museum, the Lake Geneva Lyric Opera and Holiday Home Camp.

"These are just a few," Eckland said. "Part of Harry's characteristics are that he is very modest."

From the stage, Hartshorne thanked those in attendance for their standing ovation from the more than 160 in the golf pavilion at the annual event.

"I am beginning to learn why I'm up here," Hartshorne said. "You said a lot of nice things about me that I had forgotten."

Hartshorne said he has been coming to Lake Geneva since 1918 when he was a baby and has spent a lot of time here, except from 1941 to 1945, during World War II.

"I have a question for all of you," he said. "Which town in Wisconsin is prettier than Lake Geneva?"

The audience in unison cheered, "Lake Geneva."

Hartshorne said he recently returned from a trip to Nantucket. He said he didn't think the streets of Lake Geneva would be busy, after all, it was after Labor Day and the temperatures were cool.

But he said as he drove down Broad Street, all he saw were people — happy, laughing tourists. He said that's what Lake Geneva is about.

"I want to make a toast to our shining city on the lake," he said.

The Stu Herzog Outstanding Citizen Award is given to the individual who best exemplifies the role of a good community citizen.

Betterment award winners

It's been a long road for the owners of Delaney Street Mercantile and Bistro 220.

Jeff and Bev Leonard, owners of the mercantile at the corner of Main and Cook streets across from the Newport West building, came to the area after Hurricane Katrina and according to chamber member Karin Bennett, the couple "represents the spirit of entrepreneurship."

Bistro 220 fought a different battle, one with some city officials over the opening of their facility in what was formerly a run down neighborhood area.

Owner Ken Wenz said it is nice to "be recognized for what you've done." He said his business and Delaney Street Mercantile has helped the entire block "undergo changes."

"It is the new west end," he said. "It is a place to go rather than just to get around the corner. It's been a tough road, but one that has been well worth the fight."

The Community Betterment Award is given to the business, organization or entity which has made significant contributions to the area's quality of life.

Both businesses also have received Lake Geneva Beautification Committee award.

Former recipients of the Community Betterment award include the Lake Geneva Rotary Club, Lake Geneva Jaycees, Lake Geneva Lions Club, Aurora University, Pesche's Greenhouse, the Richard Driehaus family, Newport West, Geneva Lake Women's Association, the Lake Geneva Lioness Club, the Geneva Lake History Buffs and Brunk Industries.

Hospitality recipient

Aurora University's Music by the Lake director Christine Flasch was stunned last Thursday night.

She had no idea Music by the Lake was supposed to receive the Lake Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce Hospitality Award.

"I am truly surprised," she said on the stage. "It's an honor to accept this."

The Hospitality Award is given to the individual, business, organization or entity which has improved the tourism industry in the area.

Former winners of the Hospitality Award include Gage Marine, the town of Lyons and city of Lake Geneva, Americana Resort, Rose Gage, Hilton Inn, Red Geranium, Lake Geneva Police Department, French Country Inn, Ambassador Motel, the Geneva Inn, Geneva Lakes Kennel Club, Lake Geneva Raceway, Diplomat Hotel, The Trolly of Lake Geneva, Grand Geneva, Lake Geneva Coffee, Classic Car Rally, The Cove of Lake Geneva, Paloma Geneva National, Timber Ridge Lodge, Gordy's, Lake Geneva Beautification Committee, Grand Geneva, the Downtown Lake Geneva Business Improvement District, Black Point Museum, and the Lake Geneva Wine Festival.

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