It was a family affair at the Kallet Civic Center on Friday night as brothers Patrick and John Costello Jr. of Costello Eye Physicians and Surgeons, were honored by the Greater Oneida Chamber of Commerce for the annual Distinguished Service Award.
Local community leaders, friends and family attended the 122nd annual dinner, as the Chamber honored John Jr. and Patrick for the pair’s dedication and efforts to revitalizing Oneida’s downtown.
Chamber President Jennifer Cossette said each year, the Greater Oneida Chamber recognizes an individual or business “deemed most deserving in light of their work and accomplishments to improve our local business climate or quality of life.”
Following their acceptance of the award, John Jr. and Patrick both spoke of the importance of their families in helping them succeed in their hometown. John Jr, thanked his wife April for always supporting him in his endeavors before turning his attention to his father, John Costello Sr., who also won the award in 1990 John Jr. credited his father with setting the example for him and his brother as to how a doctor should interact with patients.
“Pat and I strived to emulate our father,” John Jr. said, before thanking his mother Annie her “unconditional love.”
In terms of going into business with his little brother, John Jr. feels blessed.
“What guy wouldn’t dream about being in business with his kid brother?” he asked.
Patrick said that while it was a tremendous honor for him personally, he could not have done it without his brother and a “phenomenal staff.”
“We could not deliver the care we do without their dedication,” Patrick said, asking the Costello Eye Physicians and Surgeons staff members present to stand for recognition as well. “Thank you all for make us look so good.”
Patrick also revealed that his big brother was his biggest cheerleader as he went through his schooling, crediting John Jr. as his motivation and source of encouragement. He also touched on the importance of working in the city that raised him.
“All day, every day, I’m doing the job I truly love, especially in the place I grew up,” he said. “I owe so much to this city.”
Costello Eye Physicians and Surgeons was started by John Jr. in 1995. The older brother manned the helm for the next nine years until 2004 when Patrick joined the practice. Originally located on the Route 5 corridor in the city of Oneida, the two brothers moved their business to the city downtown in 2013 citing the need for more office space and a desire to return to their roots as both men expressed their admiration for the unique architecture found in the city downtown in addition to the their desire to revitalize the area. Between their practice and Costello Sr.-Allen Optometry located at 131 Main St., Cossette said the two practices help draw hundreds of people from across the region to the city downtown each day.
With offices in Oneida, Rome, and New Hartford, Costello Eye Physicians and Surgeons will perform more than 3,500 surgeries in 2016. Their Oneida office has eight practitioners and employs 27.
In addition to their success in the eye care world, the two brothers remain active in their community. John Jr. is a member of the OC3 community group which seeks to revitalize the downtown area by tapping into historic district grants to entice new businesses to come to the area. Patrick, Cossette said, helped raise more than $200,000 to renovate Sherrill’s Robertson Park by organizing a road race and festival fund raiser. Patrick is also close to opening the Hipstir Cafe on Farrier Avenue in a partnership with chef Jennifer DiGiorgio.
“John and Patrick hope other entrepreneurs will see the value of the beautiful, historic, and nostalgic downtown and continue to make this a great place to live and work,” Cossette said. “We thank them deeply for their commitment to Oneida and its future.”
In closing, the brothers could not help but look to the future.
“I see the glass as more than half full and moving in the right direction,” Patrick said of the City of Oneida.
Likewise, John Jr. sees more positive changes coming.
“We are not done,” the older brother said. “I’m hoping we can be a catalyst.”