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Dozens of area youth and their families always look forward to Saturdays in Lancaster.
That’s when those children can take to the field and compete – something many of them had not been able to do before.
With the swing of a bat, dribble of a basketball or the thrust of a pompom, those children are able to experience the thrills and joys of performing in front of a crowd.
They participate as part of a local sports league for special-needs children called the Dream Team.
Though the program doesn’t pump a lot of money into Lancaster County, it does much to uplift the people who live in it.
However, money isn’t everything.
The Dream Team Foundation, which launched in 2007, was named Volunteer of the Year by the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce.
Dream Team founders Diana Knight and Julie Barton received the award at the chamber’s 55th annual meeting, held Thursday night at the Lancaster Golf Club’s Fairway Room.
Barton and Knight were surprised to hear their names called during the event, which featured chamber members, supporters and other community leaders.
An emotional Knight said it’s an honor to be recognized.
“There’s no greater joy in the world than to make a child’s dream come true,” Knight said. “We hope that the Dream Team will continue for many years to come.”
The chamber also gave awards for ambassador of the year, small business of the year and one for citizenship and service.
The Citizenship and Service Award went to L&C Railway President Steve Gedney, whose involvement reaches throughout Lancaster County and beyond.
The L&C Railway sends two rail cars to Washington, D.C., annually to help take veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia.
Rick Jiran of Duke Energy, who presented the award, said that experience gives thousands of veterans a day to receives thanks while reflecting on what their service meant to the country.
Gedney was humbled by the award.
“All of this could not be accomplished by just me,” Gedney said. “It is an honor for the entire community and our customers.”
Chamber’s aims, successes
The chamber’s new logo, highlighted with a light green sketch of Lancaster County, was featured prominently at Thursday event, which carried a “Wine & Stein” theme. Attendees were treated to libations and a meal along with live musical entertainment.
The awards tied into the chamber of commerce’s new slogan of “Leading businesses. Leading communities.”
Chamber President Dean Faile said it takes everyone working together to build a stronger community. He said the chamber is proud of what the local community has accomplished and jumps at the opportunity to let outsiders know about it.
“We’re really the head cheerleaders,” Faile said. “Every day we brag about Lancaster County. We brag about you.”