SEBRING - A few years back, Sammy Telesco was in prison after committing 39 armed robberies.
But Thursday night, Telesco was recognized the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce banquet for the second year for his efforts at helping teenagers with his Str8tup ministry.
"I was totally in awe of the whole thing," he said.
Telesco said he had no idea he was going to win this year. He said because of a tight money situation he and his wife were considering not attending. But then a chamber director called and offered to pay for them.
He received the Harry Seeber Award, which is given to someone who has changed their lives around despite adversity.
Lake Placid Police Chief James Fansler said he also was surprised at getting the Dal Hall Memorial Award, which recognizes someone in government. "It was quite an honor," he said. "I was not expecting it."
Bert Harris III, the master of ceremonies, said Fansler has done a good job as police chief and noted Fansler's program to notify parents when their teenagers get tickets.
Others who got awards included David Smith, administrator of the Lake Placid Health Center.
Harris received the Industry Appreciation Award. Harris noted that the health center is one of the largest employers in the Lake Placid area and has 225 staff members.
Last year the health center got a perfect score for the third year after a state inspection, Harris said.
Mary Tanner, an employee of the Chamber of Commerce since 2008, got the Chamber Board Appreciation Award for doing what's asked of her and volunteering various areas.
The Outstanding Service to Youth award went to Sheri Griffin, the former past president of youth football and baseball league.
"Sheri goes above and beyond the call to help the youth of our community," Harris said.
Wanda Hatfield got the Volunteer of the Year Award for her service to the community, Harris said.
Other awards included the Chamber Charger Award going to Donald Clarke, owner of Clarke Pest Control and Clarke Self Storage, the Spectrum Award going to Kellie Kelley, the President's Award going to Mary Basso and the Outgoing Director Award going to Cheryl Brantley and Michael Noel.