The Brooks Patterson Community Leadership Awardis presented annually by the Cattaraugus County Planning Board to one or more community leaders who exemplify the outstanding spirit and example that Torrance Brooks and Donald Patterson set during their lifetime of dedicated service to their respective communities, County Legislature, County Planning Board, and regional agencies.
Torrance Brooks was a wonderful presence in Cattaraugus County for 81 1/2 years (1918 - 2000). In his lifetime:
- He raised 6 children, and was married to Lenora Brooks for 58 years.
- He conducted a successful law practice for 53 years.
- He served on the Cattaraugus County Board of Supervisors for 8 years.
- He served as a Charter Member and Chairman of the County Planning Board (1961-2000).
- He was a Charter Member of the Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development Board, which was originated and nurtured through the Cattaraugus County Planning Board with Torrance's direct participation and foresight, and he served as a member and chairman of the regional Environmental Committee for two decades.
- He participated in the region's largest projects, including reviewing and assisting in re-writing the proposed Master Plan for Allegany State Park.
- He was an active and valuable member of both the County Planning Board and the Southern Tier West Board right up to his death.
- He was an avid pilot for most of his life, flying on business as well as on vacations throughout Cattaraugus County and the United States; he served as a "forward observer" reconnaissance pilot during the Allied Invasion of Italy in World War II.
- He loved life in Cattaraugus County and always took vacations in the winter, because he thought that in the summer months this was the most beautiful place on earth.
Donald Patterson was an effective community leader in Cattaraugus County for 77 years (1927 - 2004). In his lifetime:
- He raised three children, and was married to Gloria Patterson for 52 years.
- He owned and operated a dairy farm, raised beef cattle and had grape vineyards and did custom harvesting of grapes.
- He served as a Charter Member of the Cattaraugus County Planning Board (1961 - 2004).
- He served as Chairman of the Cattaraugus County Planning Board from 1990 to 1997, Vice Chairman in 1989 and Secretary from 1968 to 1988 and 1965 to 1966.
- Under his leadership as Chairman, the County Planning Board created an annual Three Year Plan and laid the groundwork for major planning projects for Route 219 highway expansion, Route 16 community revitalization, and the countywide, 21st Century Goals and Visioning project.
- He received the Total Quality Management Award in 1994 from the Cattaraugus County Legislature for Outstanding Achievement in Total Quality Management of the County's Planning Program, for reducing the program while improving its effectiveness with public participation utilizing community forums and focus groups.
- He created, in 1993, the County Planning Board's slogan, "Sunrise in Cattaraugus County".
- He was a member of Shriner's No. 1 of Gowanda, the Masonic Lodge of Gowanda, Ishmailia Temple, and the Gowanda Moose, and was a past member and President of the Erie County 2 BOCES and Gowanda School Board.
- He served in the Navy during World War II, including field-testing original radar technology.
- He was an avid hunter, fisherman and nature lover and loved life in Cattaraugus County for these reasons.
The recipients of these annual awards are chosen to give countywide recognition to leaders and volunteers who make lasting contributions to the people and communities of Cattaraugus County and its region.
To read a short biography on each award recipient, click on their name below.
2021 - Paul Bishop
2019 - Florence Fuller - For outstanding leadership in community involvement and economic development in Catt. County
2018 - Mary George - For outstanding leadership in community involvement and economic development while serving as Program Coordinator for the City of Olean's Dept. of Community Development.
2017 - Joe Higgins - For outstanding leadership in community involvement and econoic development in Cattaraugus County and for being the driving force in the creation of the Allegheny River Valley Trail.
2016 - Jeff Goodyear- For his efforts to extend the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park from its current terminus in the Village of Cuba on to Hinsdale, and eventually Olean, NY. Jeff became involved as this work was started by his late friend Ed Bennett.
2015 - Ann Padlo- For her outstanding leadership in community involvement and economic development in the City of Olean and Cattaraugus County.
2014 - Bob Fischer- For his service on the Town of Portville Planning Board and chairmanship of the town of Portville's Comprehensive Planning Committee.
2013 - Helyn Wilson and Susie Folts- For their outstanding leadership in community involvement and their dedicated effort in spearheading the completion and adoption of the Town of Hinsdale's first ever Comprehensive Plan.
2012 - Jeff Belt- For his outstanding leadership in community involvement and economic development in the City of Olean and Cattaraugus County.
2011 - Robert C. Wood - For his outstanding leadership in Community Planning and Development of a Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Carrollton.
2010 - Michael Hutchinson - For his outstanding leadership and years of dedicated service in Planning and Development for the Village of Gowanda, Cattaraugus County.
2009 - Thomas Barnes - For his outstanding leadership and years of dedicated service in Planning, Development and The Arts in the City of Olean, Cattaraugus County and the Southern Tier West Region of New York State.
2008 - Leah Leising - For her outstanding leadership and years of dedicated service in planning and development for the equestrian community in Cattaraugus County.
2007 - Joan Petzen - For her outstanding leadership and service in agricultural planning and farmland protection in Cattaraugus County.
2006 - Nancy Frazier - For Outstanding Leadership in Community Planning and Development of a Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Humphrey.
2005 - John and Sheila Burrell - Years of dedicated work in community planning and economic development for the Village of Ellicottville.
2004 - Lois Bobseine Eaton - Founding member of the Cattaraugus County Planning Board.
2004 - James "Jim" Toner - Snowmobile Trails Developer.
2003 - Jack "Ol' Dad" Berger - Villages of East Randolph and Randolph and Onoville Marina.
2002 - Donnald Hensel - City of Salamanca.
2001 - David A. Swartz & Maurice T. Donovan - Village of Franklinville.
2000 - Judy L. Harrington - Village of Franklinville.
2000 - Rick LeFeber - Village of Cattaraugus.
1999 - Jeffrey B. Kessel - Village of Limestone.