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Wagner, Bosma honored at Chamber breakfast

December 08, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Ann L. Wagner has paid her dues in the business community over 30 years, serving on boards and committees and "picking up trash at ChambersFest."

Her efforts were rewarded Thursday when the co-owner of Ludwig's Jewelers was inducted into the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame. Wagner becomes the first woman inducted into the hall, past chamber president Paul Luka said during the annual chamber business breakfast.

"She has been a community ambassador and Chamber of Commerce volunteer for over 30 years," Luka said. He noted that another borough businessman, Olympia Candy Kitchen owner Will Pananes, calls her "the First Lady of Downtown Chambersburg."

Wagner has been involved with the board of directors of the Downtown Business Council since 1975 and the first woman to chair the organization, Luka said. She also was on the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce from 1997 to 2003 and chaired the Marble Building Committee, helping to transform a former bank building on Memorial Square into the Chambersburg Heritage Center.

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Wagner, the Downtown Business Council treasurer, has served with many other committees and organizations dedicated to improving the downtown, Luka said.

"It seems like it's gone past in the blink of an eye," Wagner said. In addition to those services listed by Luka, Wagner recalled some of the little things, such as picking up litter after special events.

Luka said the Hall of Fame is not an annual award and Wagner is the first person inducted since 2000.

The Business Person of the Year Award was presented to Patriot Federal Credit Union Chief Executive Officer Peggy Bosma.

Bosma became the chief executive officer of what was Letterkenny Federal Credit Union in 1982, said Pam Anderson, chairwoman of the chamber's board of directors. At the time, it had a single office, a handful of employees and $27 million in assets.

Patriot now has several branches, 140 employees, 40,000 members and $350 million in assets, Anderson said.

"Through Peggy's contributions of personal time, leadership and foresight, she's worked to preserve and build a solid job base within our community and to promote economic development," Anderson said.

Bosma also served as chairwoman of the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Chambersburg Inc. and the United Way, and has been a past recipient of the Chamber's Athena Award.

Reviewing 2006, Anderson said the chamber's membership has reached nearly 1,000 and its new Web site had 9.5 million hits this year. Franklin County's unemployment rate has been the lowest in Pennsylvania for 18 straight months and the economy has been strong in all sectors.

The strong economy and low unemployment, however, has raised concerns among members about "the reduced availability of a qualified work force," Anderson said.

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