By CCGM Executive Director Jo Schmeiser
The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford (CCGM) hosted the 4th Annual “10 of the Best” Awards Dinner Thursday April 10th. The CCGM Board of Directors and Awards Dinner Chairperson Lorna Petchey thought it would be nice to invite chamber volunteers to a free dinner to celebrate National Volunteerism Month, and to thank them for their hard work and dedication in 2013, so everyone who donated their time during 2013 received an invitation.
After dinner it was time for the guest speaker and awards presentation. With the help of MC (DJ) Petch, from the Eagle 97.7 Morning Show, the evening started off lively and full of energy. Petch introduced Chairperson Lorna Petchey and she introduced dignitaries and Guest Speaker, Anne Priester, from Delaware Hospice. Anne spoke to the crowd about the importance of volunteerism. She mentioned if it were not for volunteers, Delaware Hospice would not be able to operate. Anne also let everyone in the audience know that the chamber relies on our volunteers to function, as there are only two employees at the chamber.
It was then time for Lorna to introduce CCGM President, Angela Dorey, to present the awards. The first surprise award of the evening came when Angela introduced Sussex County Federal Credit Union Representatives Debbie Jewell and Sharee Coleman. Debbie spoke about the 2013 Girls Night Out Event and how it was so successful and raised a lot of money for the chamber and the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. She also mentioned the fundraising was brought to a new level last year due to the Marvelous Men of Milford, and one in particular, Pete Renzi, from I.G. Burton. Pete raised the most money, becoming Milford’s Most Marvelous Man. Debbie and Sharee presented Pete with an award for his achievement. This award came as a surprise to Pete, however since he did not receive an actual award last year at the event, as Corporate Sponsors, Debbie and Sharee felt it was the perfect venue to present Pete with his award.
The next award was another surprise this year. Angela presented 2013 CCGM President Mike Kazala, from Delmarva Broadcasting, with the award for his leadership last year serving as chamber President. Mike was very surprised and delighted to receive the award at the dinner. The surprise awards were complete, and it was time to announce this year’s winners of the “10 of the Best”.
The following awards were voted on by the CCGM Board of Directors: Jim Manna, with Brightfields, Inc., was presented with the award for Board Member of the Year. The Chairperson of the Year award went to Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition Outreach & Education Program Director Cheryl Doucette. Mike Baker, with C.M. Baker Photography, won for Volunteer of the Year, for his year-round volunteer time photographing chamber events, and the Youth Volunteer of the Year award was given to Daniel Kaminski for volunteering all 3 days of the Riverwalk “Freedom” Festival.
The next awards were nominated and voted on by chamber members: Non-Profit Organization of the Year is Carlisle Fire Company, Small Business of the Year went to Chuck and George from Dolce’ Bakery & Coffee Shop, I.G. Burton & Company, Inc. was announced the winner of Large Business of the Year, the award for New Chamber Member of the Year is Harrington Raceway & Casino and Pastor Richie Portalatin, with the Multi-Cultural Center, was named Citizen of the Year.
For the last three years, the President of the CCGM chose one person to receive the President’s Choice Award. Angela explained to the audience that the awards dinner was brought back as an annual event while Fred Rohm was President and that when Fred passed away last year, she and many others were very saddened so she wanted a way to carry on Fred’s legacy. She said Fred was a mentor, a friend and a wonderful president and he deserved to be remembered in a special way. For those reasons Angela thought it was appropriate to re-name the President’s Choice Award the Fred Rohm Memorial President’s Choice Award. Since Fred was being honored at the event, his wife Donna was invited to help present the award. Angela, along with Donna, presented the Fred Rohm Memorial President’s Choice Award to Deanna Smith. Deanna, as Angela said, has been a wonderful volunteer for the chamber for many years. She said Deanna served on the Executive Board, the Board, chaired several committees, served on many committees and is always available for guidance and help whenever and wherever needed. Angela also said that Deanna became good friends with Fred while serving on the Executive Board and Board of Directors with him and felt no one other than Deanna should win this award. Deanna was very surprised, and honored by the award. She was also very humbled to have support at the event from employees, her fiancé’, her mother and representatives from Artisans’ Corporate office, including President and CEO Mark Huntley.