Etched prominently on the North Strabane-Peters Township Fire Safety House is the inscription “In loving memory of Carol Foley.”
The longtime Peters Township Chamber of Commerce executive director was a major supporter of the local fire department, and fundraising by the chamber paid for Peters’ half of the mobile demonstration unit.
Those efforts continue with the Chamber Chase 5K Run/Walk on Arrowhead Trail, with the 11th annual event scheduled for Oct. 12. Registration begins at 7:15 a.m. at Peters Township Community Recreation Center in Peterswood Park, in advance of the 9 a.m. start.
“We do encourage families,” current executive director Brian Schill said. “Strollers are fine. Dogs are fine.”
Everyone involved will make his or her way approximately 1.8 miles west and then turn back around to wrap up the proceedings where they started. Awards will follow at the recreation center, along with breakfast provided by Miller’s Ace Hardware owner Greg Gold.
The morning’s proceeds benefit Peters Township Chamber of Commerce Community and Scholarship Fund, with some of the money going to Peters Township Fire Department for programs such as providing smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers to help keep families safe.
The Chamber Chase is open to the public, as are many of the organization’s events.
“I gave us a new tag line: We’re not just a chamber of commerce. We’re a chamber of community. And that’s true,” Schill said. “When you support the chamber, you’re supporting the community in some form or fashion.”
Throughout its history, the 65-year-old organization not only has helped serve the needs of local businesses, but those of folks throughout Peters and beyond. From providing scholarships for high school seniors to having a major part in presenting the township’s annual Community Day, the chamber is ready to assist.
In 2017, McMurray Rotary Club joined the chamber in contributing money toward the purchase of two electric bikes for Peters Township Police Department, which aids officers in patrolling areas that are difficult to reach by vehicle, including the local trail system.
At the heart of the chamber are its 525 members, including many from outside of the municipality.
“Although our primary emphasis is Peters, we really do serve the South Hills and northern Washington County,” Schill said.
He and operations coordinator Kelley Keane enjoy promoting chamber members, and they often organize and attend ribbon-cutting events with a pair of seemingly ubiquitous oversized scissors in tow.
They also schedule gatherings such as “Chamber Chats,” which provide opportunities for members to get to know one another better in a relatively intimate setting.
“It’s for only up to 10 members, because you really get to know what constitutes a good lead for someone, what their business is and what they really do,” Keane said.
The chamber also serves as a resource center through relationships with organizations like Junior Achievement, the University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center and SCORE, formerly the Service Corps of Retired Executives.
“Most of these resources are free,” Schill noted.
Pre-registration for the Chamber Chase is $25 adults, 15 and older, through Oct. 10 and $30 after. For children ages 7 to 14, the cost is $10.