Suffolk Times honors its People of the Year

More than a dozen local residents and community leaders were honored at the 2016 Times Review Media Group People of the Year reception at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead last Thursday.

The annual awards, which have been handed out since 1987, are given to leaders in public and community service, education, business and sports. This year’s Suffolk Times Person of the Year award was given to Southold and Greenport IGA owner Charles Reichert for his generosity in making more than $400,000 in donations to various community groups last year. Accepting the award on Mr. Reichert’s behalf was grandson J.C. Beierle and daughter-in-law Anne Reichert.

“He couldn’t be more humbled and he just lives to give back to people,” Ms. Reichert said in accepting the award.
The Times Review staff prepared a documentary-style video on each of the 14 recipients, who then gave speeches thanking family and supporters.

“It’s really a great event that we’ve come to look forward to every year,” said Times Review publisher Andrew Olsen. “The recipients are all very deserving of the honors and their stories are inspirational.”

Other Suffolk Times recipients included Businessperson of the Year Lucy Senesac of Sang Lee Farms; Educator of the Year Emily Gundersen of Ecumenical Nursery School; Community Leaders of the Year Valerie Shelby and Sonia Spar of the Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force; Public Servant of the Year Jim Grathwohl of the Southold Town Historic Preservation Commission; and Sports Person of the Year Phil Reed, the late Southold coach. Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks were named Northforker People of the Year.

The ceremony was sponsored by Acadia Center in Riverhead with food prepared by Christopher Michael Catering and music from Make Some Noise Productions. Mattituck Greenport Laundry, Mattituck Florist and Sav-on Printing also served as partners for the event.

Valerie Shelby, Sonia Spar, James Grathwohl, Lucy Senesac, Emily Gunderson, Laddie Reed, Elliott Reed, Lorraine Reed, Jessica Reed. (Credit: David Benthal)

Here is a complete list of the winners for 2016:

Person of the Year: Charles Reichert

Public Servant of the Year: Jim Grathwohl

Educator of the Year: Emily Gundersen

Businessperson of the Year: Lucy Senesac

Community Leaders of the Year: Valerie Shelby and Sonia Spar

Sportsperson of the Year: Phil Reed

northforker Person of the Year: Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks