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Manfred Sander named Ligonier chamber person of the year |

Manfred Sander named Ligonier chamber person of the year

Alice T. Carter
| Wednesday, March 11, 2015 4:42 p.m
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Manfred Sander was named 2014 Person of the Year, at the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce 65th annual dinner, held at the Ligonier Country Club on Monday evening, March 9, 2015.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
(from left), Ron McDowell, owner, The Road Toad, mingles with honored guests, Jim Broadhurst, chairman, Eat 'n Park, and Willi Daffinger, former life-long Rolling Rock chef, during the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce 65th annual dinner, held at the Ligonier Country Club on Monday evening, March 9, 2015.

Manfred Sander was named person of the year during the 65th Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce annual dinner meeting at the Ligonier Country Club Monday.

“The person of the year is a faithful volunteer for the chamber,” said David Sarault, who introduced Sander as the 2014 recipient.

Sarault said Sander, orginally from Germany, came to the United States to take what he thought was a six-month, temporary job at the Rolling Rock Club in 1965. “That job turned into a 41-year career,” Sarault said. “Since that time, Manfred has become an important part of our community.”

Sander said he realized something special was happening for him at the dinner when he saw his two daughters, Tanya Marks of Mt. Lebanon and Tiffany McKenzie of Brookline, arrive at the country club.

“Then, when I saw the Rolling Rock reunion table, I knew something was up,” Sander said.

Willi Daffinger of Ligonier worked with Sander as a chef at the Rolling Rock Club.

“Manfred is a first-class craftsman,” Daffinger said. “We attended the same chef school. We had the same teacher.”

Marks said the family is very proud of her father.

“He deserves this. He does so much for Ligonier,” Marks said. “He came to Ligonier 50 years ago this month.”

“So that makes this a big deal in a lot of ways,” McKenzie said.

Sander’s wife, Veronica, said their three grandchildren were proud of their “Opa.” Sophia, 8, and Ella Marks, 6, made a special card to give to their grandfather Monday night.

Sander recalled his arrival in Laughlintown from London, a city of 10 million people.

“At first, I wondered what I was getting into here. But, I learned to love Ligonier quickly,” Sander said.

He retired from Rolling Rock nine years ago after a more than four-decade career as pastry chef and head chef. In 1990, he opened Pathfinder Photos and the Ligonier Sweet Shop in the historic Diamond Shops building.

“There is no greater award than those given to you by your peers,” Sander said.

Dave Crawley of KDKA-TV was the guest speaker for the evening.

Executive Director Holly Mowrey spoke about the accomplishments of the 357-member chamber and its importance in the community.

“We presented 12 events in 2014 and 15 Sunday evening concerts on the Diamond,” Mowrey said. “What would Ligonier be without all of these events and activities?”

New fundraiser announced

Kathy Brown and Dianne Stewart introduced the newest event, the Ligonier Duck Dash,” a fundraising even planned during the June 12 community picnic at Idlewild & SoakZone.

Brown said plastic ducks would be dumped into the Lazy River in the SoakZone. The first duck to cross the finish line will receive $1,000, $500 for second place and $250 for third place.

Community members may “adopt” a duck for $5; a six quack for $25 and a “flock” of 30 ducks for $100; at Amica, Betsy’s of Ligonier, Abigail’s Coffeehouse and the chamber office.

Money from the fundraiser will benefit the chamber and the Ligonier Valley School District Foundation.

“Our goal is to help support the foundation to help meet the basic needs of the students in the district,” Stewart said. “We challenge everyone to purchase a flock of ducks. When you help the chamber, you are helping the school district’s foundation. There is a need in Ligonier.”

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