Businesswoman Melody Vincent and volunteer Jeff Shirk were honored for their outstanding civic contributions by the Community of Lebanon Association at a small awards ceremony Oct. 21 shown on Facebook.

The association’s vision is for the “community of Lebanon to be a thriving place to live, work, shop, learn and do business,” its website states.

Vincent, owner of Lebanon Picture Frame & Fine Art Gallery, received the 2020 Merritt Marks Memorial Business Person of the Year Award. Hailed as “a leader in downtown Lebanon’s emerging shopping district” in a press release, she’s a strong supporter of the First Friday Art Walk, Community of Lebanon Association, and Lebanon Family Medicine, and served on the board of Visit Lebanon Valley.

An “invaluable” and much appreciated member of the Community of Lebanon Association, according to the release, Shirk was presented with the 2020 Lester Leffler Memorial Community Volunteer Service Award. His wife, Pam, is a past honoree (2015).

This year’s awards ceremony, sponsored by Domino’s Pizza, included appearances – some remotely – by Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello, County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz, state Rep. Frank Ryan, Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Karen Groh, Lebanon Main Street Manager Amy Kopecky, and other leaders.

Vincent has owned Lebanon Picture Frame & Fine Art Gallery since 2008; the business is housed in a “beautiful old building,” she said, at 847 Cumberland St. in downtown Lebanon.

For much of the 20th century, that property was home to Bennetch Shoe Store.

There’s been some moving around over the years – instead of playing musical chairs it was “playing musical buildings,” Vincent joked – but “we love it here.”

Her shop does custom framing and sells two- and three-dimensional pieces, from mostly local artists, in the gallery.

After the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year, business is brisk, Vincent told LebTown, as people concentrate on home renovations. “We’re so busy we can’t keep up.”

The store is fortunate to have “really loyal, repeat customers,” she said.

Asked about the Business Person of the Year Award, Vincent said, “I’m still processing it. It’s such an honor to be recognized.”

When she got the award, she said she was speechless. “I’m deeply grateful and humbled.”  

“I love what I do,” continued Vincent, who said being in the spotlight is never her goal.  

Jeff Shirk said he became active in the Community of Lebanon Association because of his wife’s involvement.

“I get brought in a lot,” whether it’s to drive a parade float, mulch, wack weeds or some other volunteer job, he said.

Over the years, he and his wife have gotten to be good friends with other association members, Shirk said, which is one of the reasons he really enjoys helping out. 

When the association’s board president, John Bower, called him and told him of the award, “It was a total surprise,” Shirk said.

“I greatly appreciate it,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”

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