Thurman will receive a "Tourism Service Award" from The Greater Allegany County Chamber of Commence

Belmont, N.Y. - Former Buffalo Bills Running Back and Football Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas will be the honored guest at the Greater Allegany County Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner April 1st 2016.

Thomas is no stranger to Western New York, and is more involved in the area than people may realize. A former college football player, he spent 11 years (1988 to 1999) of his professional career as a running back with the Buffalo Bills. In 2000 he signed with the Miami Dolphins, and play until 2007 when he returned to western New York with his family to live.

Thomas is now the vice chair of the Governor's Tourism Advisory Council which is how he became acquainted with Gretchen Hanchett, executive director of the Greater Allegany County Chamber/Office of Tourism during a lunch meeting for the Tourism coordinators' of Western NY's "I Love NY" program a couple of years ago. .

"Thurman (Thomas) sits on the Governor's Tourism Advisory Council as vice chair, which is where I first met them both (Thomas and his wife Patti), said Hanchett, "Thurman and his wife Patti have been a continual support for the Greater Allegany County Chamber of Commerce and Allegany County Tourism. Tourism is a passion for them. They both have a great love for Western New York and passionately promote and encourage the many events throughout the area.

"They both are wonderful to work with and really care about our communities," Hanchett said.

After meeting with the couple, Hanchett said, "Thomas and his wife wrote and sent support letters to help encourage the Western New York and Allegany County as a destination site for the 2016 FireBall Run. Thanks to their support FireBall Run will be coming to Western NY starting in Ellicottville New York, with missions/stops in Salamanca and Allegany County this September. "

"I was so grateful and honored that they are attending our annual dinner this year," Hanchett said. "This year Thurman and his wife Patty will receive the "Tourism Service Award"

The Greater Allegany County Chamber Annual Dinner is April 1, 2016 at Moonwinks in Cuba NY.