DANSVILLE — Livingston County reached out to thank one of its staunchest supporters over the years.
Former state Senator Cathy Young was honored with a proper dedication ceremony held by the Dansville Chamber of Commerce at Scovill’s Bar and Grill on April 30. Members from all over the area spoke of the countless things Young had done for them and their communities over the years.
The speakers of the ceremony included: Floyd Sick, Dansville Village Trustee; Sue Carlock, Livingston County Office of the Aging; Mary Ann Holden, Dansville Festival of Balloons; Greg Horr, Dansville Ambulance; Glenn Camuto, Dansville Fire Chief; Merilee Walker, Nunda Town Supervisor; Don Higgins, Patriot Guard Riders and Livingston County highway supervisor; Paul Alioto, Dansville Central Superintendent; Barry Haywood, Clara Barton House and American Red Cross; David Lefeber, Avon Town Supervisor; and Jim Culbertson, Dansville Chamber vice-president.
“To us she will always be Senator Cathy Young. You helped with capital projects, health care, education, infrastructure, art and the total of projects is staggering. That is just in Livingston County,” Haywood said. “You have attended so many celebrations and grand openings that you could ever count. There are so many people who want to recognize you for what you have done.”
Sick had the chance to honor Young on behalf of the village of Dansville.
“I wish to express the village's gratitude for your nearly 14 years of dedicated and honorable service representing Dansville and your district in New York. Your interest in the communities was a shining example,” he said. “We deeply appreciate your efforts in supporting our local projects, including grants for the Downtown Revitalization Project, the addition of the Dansville Public Library, and rebuilding the deteriorated Culbert Bridge.”
The Dansville Ambulance and Dansville Fire Department gave Young a plaque thanking her for the support and dedication over the years
Carlock said everyone at the office is going to miss Young.
“We had to come down to tell you how much we are going to miss you, and how much we have appreciated all the support over the years,” she said. “We have enjoyed so much when you come, and talk to the older adults in Livingston County.”
Holden thanked Young for all she has done for the Dansville Festival of Balloons. She gave her a chance to see Dansville from the sky at this year’s festival.
Walker mentioned how Young had always been there to support the small town festivals within her community over the years.
Higgins gave Young two plaques from the highway department and the veterans.
“Cathy has been a huge supporter of our efforts to maintain our roads and bridges,” he said. “Just with our highways and bridges, Cathy has been a huge supporter of our veterans and first responders.”
Alioto made Young an honorary Mustang at the event with a high school diploma and a red shirt.
“You will remember that 2010 and 2011 were very difficult years in Dansville Central School District. We had some pretty devastating cuts that resulted from the 2008 fiscal crisis. In 2013 things started to turn around. We began to climb out of that fiscal crisis,” he said. “The governor wanted to control how that money was spent. There were $3 billion in discretionary funds that had strings attached. In 2013 I wrote Cathy a letter, and it was an impassioned letter.”
Alioto thanked Young for her interest in helping rural schools and communities over her time in office.
Lefeber grew up in the small town of Avon with Young, and had a unique dedication to offer. He lives in Young’s childhood home now.
“I want to thank Cathy Young for all she has done for Livingston County. We have a long history together, and grew up in Avon,” he said. “I have always noticed her hard work, honesty, and well treatment of others. Cathy continues to represent Western New York. Through all of her years of public service we would run across each other at different events. We would always talk about agriculture, jobs, economics, and specific cases that were important to everyone.”
Culbertson had the final words as he handed Young a certificate from the Dansville Chamber of Commerce.
“Dansville Chamber of Commerce recognizes Catharine Young with sincere appreciation for outstanding leadership and distinguished service to the Dansville community and all the people of Western New York,” he said.
Young was overwhelmed with the kindness and gifts given to her by the community and county of those she calls friends.
“I am so overwhelmed right now and so touched. Thank you to each and every one of you. I look around this room, and I see people that mean so much to me. I am a Livingston County girl,” she said. “To each and every one of you who spoke I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Serving you and being your senator has been the greatest experience of my entire life. I’ve always been so honored that people would put their faith and trust in me.
“We worked to get things done in our community. I look around and really it is you — it’s you who are the heroes. You are the people everyday who are getting the important things done. That has made me so proud over the years,” Young continued. “The fact that I got to represent you, that is what I miss most. What always kept me going, and what inspired me was you. When this job came along, it was good for me for my agricultural roots. It was important for me to be able to continue to serve my district. Through this new job is a way for me to continue to serve my district through job growth, economic development, and growing the farming industry.”
Young’s new position is New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture executive director at Cornell University. Young's seat in Albany is currently vacant.