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  Fingar Recieves Distinguished Citizen Award

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.

Fingar 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.


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President Peter Fingar