Germantown 's Peter Fingar has been selected to receive
the 2003 Distinguished Citizen Award by the Columbia County
Association in the City of New York .
Peter Fingar, 73, is a life-long resident of Columbia
County (born in Germantown ) who is a graduate of Albany
Academy and SUNY Farmingdale. He and his wife Martha
have three sons, David, Greg and Mark, and a daughter,
Lorinda. He also has three step-children: Jacqueline
Caragine, Billy Pierce and Martin Schultheis.
For more than
50 years, he's worked as an insurance broker in the firm his
father Luther Fingar founded in 1931. Today, much of the firm's
activities are handled by Peter's sons, Greg and Mark. From
its beginnings as an agency for the Germantown area, the Fingar
Insurance Agency has branched out to include clients in Tivoli
, Greenport ad Hudson . During the past year, the company
absorbed the Starace and George Insurance Agency.
has seen a lot of changes in the business since he began
selling insurance in 1950. The biggest change, he says,
is that insurance brokers are no longer responsible to
the company for premium collections. Insurance policies
also used to be typed by hand and he remembers that his
father insisted that every policy had to be delivered by
hand as well.
"My father never let me mail even a renewal," he
recalls. While his status as a driving force behind
the success of a local business that's now in its eighth
decade of existence is a noteworthy achievement, Fingar's
selection for recognition by the Columbia County Association
was based equally on his non-business contributions
to our area.
The list of volunteer organizations to which
he's contributed his time and effort over the years is
a lengthy one. He is a long-time member and past president
of the Germantown Lions Club; past commodore of the Catskill
Yacht Club; Elder and vice-president of the Germantown
Reformed Church; past director of the Columbia County Chamber
of Commerce; 50-year member of Germantown Hose; past member
of the Germantown Planning Board and member of the Columbia
Memorial Hospital Board.
He's been a solid contributor to
each of these organizations, but his work with two
of them - the Germantown Lions
Club and the Columbia Memorial Hospital Board of Directors - are
deserving of special notice.
As with all service clubs,
the Germantown Lions has some members who are more active
than others - one of
these is Peter. He is currently one of the club's contact
people for its Wheelchair and Hospital Bed program. If
you've ever been laid up with a serious injury you know
that medical equipment such as wheel chairs, crutches
and hospital beds are often difficult - and always expensive
- to acquire. The Germantown Lions have a program to
assist people in the region who have a temporary need
for such items. The club has an inventory of them and
members such as Fingar are available to assist in the
delivery of them to patients in need.
Of even larger note
is the contribution he and his fellow board members have
made to our local hospital. Fingar has been a member
of the Columbia Memorial Hospital Board of Directors
for nine years now (before that he was a member of the
Columbia-Greene Hospital Foundation.). The board's accomplishment
of which he's most proud during this period has been
the planning and fund-raising effort that has resulted
in the hospital's new wing, including a brand-new and
expanded emergency room. The new addition means that
residents of Columbia and Greene counties have access
to emergency room care that to many of us is the equal
of - or even superior to - emergency services at the
larger hospitals in Albany .
For his fifty years as manager
of a highly-successful family business and more important
for a half-century of quietly and significantly impacting
a variety of community non-profit organizations, the Columbia
County Association in the City of New York is proud to
select Peter Fingar as its Distinguished Citizen for 2003.
He will be honored at the organization's annual dinner
to be held on May 7 at Gallagher's Steak House in New York
City . For information or to reserve seating, please call
Guy Apicella at 828-4181.