Dellea receives the award from last year's winner Edward McCormick.
STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Eugene Dellea may not have wanted any accolades but that didn't stop the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce from naming him the Business Person of the Year.
Hundreds of the county's business leaders crowded the Norman Rockwell Museum on Wednesday to honor the Fairview Hospital president as the fifth recipient of the award.
Dellea joins Lee Bank CEO David Bruce, the Ward Family, who run a family-owned nursery business, Jane Iredale of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics and Edward McCormick, of McCormick, Murtagh & Marcus.
The award is given out to a chamber member "who has outstanding personal qualities, managerial skills and has made great contributions to the Southern Berkshire community." Dellea was chosen because of his work with dozens of organizations, in politics and with the hospital.
"If you looked up in Webster's Dictionary the words integrity, leadership, visionary and role model, I think you would see Gene Dellea's picture," said state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli at the ceremony. "Gene is one of those rare guys, a rare public servant that doesn't look for any accolades, doesn't want them. But boy does he deserve them."
Pignatelli said that not all of Dellea's contributions to the Southern Berkshires are known. He told stories of Dellea personally helping residents outside of the public eye, a notion with which last year's winner McCormick agreed.
"It is something that is well deserved. I know of no other person in Berkshire County who deserves this more than you," he said. "You have helped so many people in Berkshire County, some that we know about but most that we don't know about."
McCormick said it was Dellea who led to the current health care systems in Berkshire County. In the 1980s, hospitals were "protecting their turf" and not talking with each other. It was Dellea's idea and efforts that brought the hospitals and health-care organizations together.
Dellea is the current president of Fairview Hospital and the Hillcrest Campus at Tor Court.
At Fairview, part of Berkshire Health System, Pignatelli said it was Dellea's leadership that created the environment that exists now.
"Gene makes it a family. When you go to Fairview Hospital, they know your name. I've heard stories of Gene making the rounds, the CEO of a hospital making the rounds visiting with patients, 'I heard you were here, how are you? How is your care?'" Pignatelli said.
After roasting Dellea a bit, Pignatelli predicted what hospital executive would say about the honor — that it was the "team" at Fairview and at BHS that helped the hospital grow.
And, Pignatelli was right.
"I accept it on behalf of my colleagues at Fairview Hospital as we celebrate 100 years of caring," Dellea said after accepting the award, and then continued to recap the history of the hospital.
Dan Johnson, representing U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, upped the honor by presenting Dellea a congressional recognition.
"Gene does so much for the Berkshires," Johnson said.
Dellea has been active in a number of organizations including UNICO, Berkshire Community College, United Way and others. He served on economic development task forces, Governor's Council and the American Hospital Association's Government Relations Committee among others.
Dellea has also been very active in politics being part of the presidential campaigns for Robert Kennedy and Edward Kennedy. Recently, he was part of the campaign to elect Neal. On the local level, Dellea is the town moderator for West Stockbridge and a former chairman of the Board of Selectmen.