Jaffrey Chamber announces citizen, business, nonprofit of the year awards

  • Tim Hughgill, left, Josh Sorby, Carl Sorby and Tim Sorby of Sorby & Son Heating were honored with Business of the Year by the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce. Courtesy photo—

  • Jeff Crocker is the Jaffrey Chamber Citizen of the Year. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/15/2020 4:19:01 PM
Modified: 1/15/2020 4:18:11 PM

Attorney and avid volunteer Jeff Crocker is the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.

Along with Crocker, the Chamber is also honoring Sorby & Son Heating as its Business of the Year, and Reality Check as the Nonprofit of the Year.

For the winners, the effort they put into the community is its own reward.

Crocker, a Jaffrey native who now lives in Peterborough, was for many years a partner in Jaffrey’s Tower, Crocker & Smith, and last year joined Upton & Hatfield in Peterborough.

Throughout his life, he has remained an active member of multiple volunteer boards, including being a founding member of TEAM Jaffrey, as well as Monadnock at Home, Shelter from the Storm and Monadnock Day Care and the Park Theatre.

He’s also served on government boards in Peterborough, including the town’s Economic Development Authority and Planning Board, and state boards, such as the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security appellate board and the board for the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire.

“These small communities depend on a few good people to take on these organizational responsibilities, or things don’t get done,” Crocker said. “Whether it’s people wrapping presents for children at Christmas, or volunteering to put on the Festival of Fireworks, towns wouldn’t be communities without these volunteers.”

Crocker said those men and women stepping up allow organizations like Shelter from the Storm to help those that need it.

“Many of us have been very blessed to not have those problems, so it's important to contribute to the communities we live and work in and be there as a safety net,” he said. 

While he was shocked and humbled to be nominated for Citizen of the Year, much less ultimately chosen, Crocker said he’s simply doing his part to build that community.

“I would feel guilty if I was sitting in a boat, and didn’t pick up an oar and row like everyone else. I’m just one of the people in the boat, doing my part,” he said.

Tim Sorby, owner of Sorby & Son Heating, takes a similar view of his role as a business owner in the community.

The business was started by his father, Carl Sorby. Tim Sorby joined him as a full-time worker in 1990, and now runs the business, with his two employees, Tim Hughgill, and his own son, Josh Sorby.

Sorby said there’s no particular secret to keeping a business going long-term. It’s simply a matter of respecting your customers.

“You take the business seriously, and you build trust, and people want you back year after year,” he said. “We go the extra mile on every job.”

That means treating every customer like you would a friend or family member, Tim’s wife, Tammy Sorby, said. 

“If Tim can save someone money by talking them through an issue over the phone, he’ll do it. He picks up the phone at 2 a.m., he picks up the phone when he’s on vacation. He tries to treat them like he would want to be treated,” Tammy Sorby said.

Late-night calls when the temperature drops happen pretty often, Tim Sorby said, and usually, people are surprised when he picks up the phone, expecting to have to leave a message on a machine. But that’s just part of the business, he said.

“I was shocked to be nominated, and really shocked to be selected,” Tim Sorby said, of the Business of the Year Award. “You work so hard, year after year, and we’re just a small business, so it’s not like there’s a lot of awards out there for someone like us. It’s awesome just to be recognized.”

This year’s Nonprofit of the Year, Reality Check, is focused on reducing substance use and addiction in the state by providing curriculum and training to school districts, providing counseling to both individuals and groups, and recovery supports and addiction education.

The organization is in the midst of a five-year grant awarded by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to implement prevention strategies in the Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative and Mascenic Regional School districts. Also, this year, Reality Check received another grant through the Governor’s office to implement a recovery-friendly workplace initiative, to create an education program for workplaces in the region to be more supportive of employees with addiction. 

The nonprofit held its first Recovery Friendly Employer Conference in October, hosting 30 employers from across the state.

Most recently, Reality Check has partnered with Monadnock Community Hospital to provide an on-call recovery coach program, for the hospital and its affiliate offices, to provide a person to help people access treatment and recovery options and provide support while gaining access to those services.

“Reality Check Board of Directors and staff are humbled and honored to be nominated and deeply appreciate this community's investment, support and recognition,” Mary Drew, founder and CEO said. “We know that we cannot do this ourselves, and that to arrest the epidemic we need all hands on deck.”

The Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce will present the Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year and Nonprofit of the Year during its annual meeting on Feb. 15 at the Shattuck Golf Club. Tickets for the annual meeting and dinner are $50. More information is available at jaffreychamber.com.


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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