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Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award

Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award

The Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award is presented by the Greater Watertown - North Country Chamber of Commerce to an outstanding citizen of the Greater Watertown area.  The award was established by Arnold I. Shapiro to honor the memory of his father, a long time business leader in this community.  A director of the Chamber at the time of his father’s death in 1952, Mr. Shapiro sensed a need in Watertown for a symbolic annual recognition of exceptional leadership on behalf of our city. Over the years, the award has been presented to many deserving individuals for their contributions and service to our community.



Melvin "Mel" J. Busler, Jr.

69th Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award Recipient

Mel was born and raised in Watertown graduating from Immaculate Heart Central in 1977 and going on to attend Jefferson Community College. He started his broadcast career at WATN radio in 1978 before moving over to WWNY 7 News in 1982, becoming full time Sports Anchor of the 6 and 11 news in 1984. Mel married his high school sweetheart Rose Freeman on September 13, 1980 they have two boys. Melvin J, Busler III (Citrus Spring, FL) and Matthew Busler (Syracuse, NY) and their dog Molly.

Being from the area has given Mel the opportunity to work with some great charities and organizations over the years, here are just a few:

  • Relay for Life board/committee
  • Relay for Life Co-chair
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Our Lady of Sacred Heart Church
  • Salvation Army Old Newsboys days
  • Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign
  • Disabled Persons Action Organization Board
  • Disabled Persons Action Organization Foundation Board
  • Town of Clayton Christmas Parade
  • Watertown Christmas Parade
  • Watertown Urban Mission Run for Recovery/Bridge program
  • Volunteer Transportation Center Chili Cook Off
  • Victims Assistances Center of Jefferson County Taste of the Town

Mel takes pride in supporting the North Country and making a difference.  When he isn’t busy volunteering, he enjoys watching Syracuse football and is a season ticket holder since the dome opened in 1980, watching the Syracuse Chiefs baseball, traveling, entertaining or just being home with his family.

Previous Award Recipients

John C. Davis 1952

William G. Lachenauer 1953

Sister Mechtilde 1954

Frederick F. Bugbee 1955

Mrs. Wallace W.  Manning 1956

Rev Harold Niles 1957

No award given 1958

John B. Johnson, Sr. 1959

Clinton Marsh 1960

Russell E. Penney 1961

Robert E. Wehrle 1962

Miss Nina Coleman 1963

Harold T. Wiley 1964

Muriel M. Kennedy 1965

Rev Graham Hodges 1966

Jack E. Robbins 1967

David C. Knowlton 1968

Donald E. Lawton 1969

Jean Clark 1970

Pearl E. Saunders 1971

Ann D. Bryant 1972

Richard M. Hollenbeck 1973

Rev Benoit C. Dostie 1974

Sylvia S. Heap 1975

Pat Quick 1976

Joan Jones 1977

Dr. Michael Anthony 1978

Frances Carter 1979

Margaret Coe 1980

Dorothy LeFevre 1981

Tom Walker 1982

Sherry Wilson 1983

Donald Alexander 1984

Dr. Frederick Stone 1985

Nelson Eddy 1986

Geraldine Sheehan 1987

Jennie Adsit 1988

Mabel Walker 1989

P. Owen Willaman 1990

Donald Foster 1991

Allen Smith 1992

Judith Foster 1993

Anthony Keating 1994

Robert Murphy 1995

John B. Johnson, Jr. 1996

Mary Parry 1997

Dr. John Deans 1998

Everett Foster 1999

Roy Goodwin 2000

Greg Couch 2001

Rande Richardson 2002

Elizabeth Fipps 2003

Mary Sanford 2004

David Mance 2005

Rev. Fred Garry 2006

Robert R. Sturtz 2007

Daniel J. Villa 2008

Michael Plummer 2009

Terrence Roche 2010

Benjamin Coe 2011

Bernard Brown 2012

Thomas Carman 2013

Irene Carman 2014

Mary Corriveau 2015

Gilbert Pearsall 2016

Howard Ganter 2017

Joseph Rich 2018

Allison F. Gorham 2019

No awards given 2020 - 2021

Melvin "Mel" J. Busler, Jr. 2022


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