“Raise the Torch” was the theme of the Chamber’s Annual Awards Banquet, held Feb. 7th at Bentwinds Country Club. The theme drew comparisons between the positive character traits of Olympic athletes and business professionals who work hard to build successful enterprises in Fuquay-Varina. Table decorations and lapel pins accentuated the international aspects of the modern Olympics. With Greek-inspired appetizers starting the evening off with a bang, the beef tips, baked herb chicken, and scallops in cream sauce were the culinary highlight of the evening, followed by baklava (provided by Neomonde Café) and cupcakes (provided by Stick Boy Bread Company). Shutterbooth of Raleigh provided a photo booth for attendees, complete with props and costumes that provided considerable merriment for the crowd.
Although the mood was festive and attendees visibly enjoyed the food, drink, and atmosphere, the highlight of the evening was the official presentation of awards to individuals and businesses that had a significant impact on our community through the Chamber of Commerce in 2013. Through the tongue-in-cheek flair of MC Eric Hardy, each presentation was offered in a spirit of respect and admiration for the recipient, as a reflection of their hard work over the past year.
The first award of the evening was the Chairman’s Award, presented to Jonathan Holland of State Farm Insurance by outgoing Board Chair Steve Tucker, for his hard work and commitment to Chamber initiatives over the past year. The winner of the Horizon Award (for a newcomer to the business scene) for 2013 was Garfield Oates of Subway for his recent contributions to the Chamber as a whole and the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Large Business of the Year for 2013 was presented to the Bob Barker Company for its dedication to social responsibility in the community and within their own company. Small Business of the Year for 2013 was presented to Military Missions in Action for its consistent dedication to improving the lives of veterans in our community. Ambassador of the Year was awarded to Ms. Amy Freeman of Williamson Insurance for her organization and leadership of the Ambassadors in 2013, and the PWLA Woman of the Year was awarded to Ms. Christie Cook of the News & Observer for her commitment to raising scholarship funds for young women in Fuquay-Varina, and for championing networking among women business professionals in the Chamber community.
The awards portion of the evening concluded with the presentation of the Outstanding Citizenship Award. For almost 60 years, the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce has presented this distinguished award to a resident of Fuquay-Varina who has demonstrated a long-term commitment of service, with the result of enhancing the quality of life in our community. The winner of this award for 2013 was Ms. Frances Howard. Ms. Howard has spent the past 10+ years facilitating caregiver support groups and providing peer counseling for the family members of patients who are struggling with Alzheimers and other forms of dementia. For many families in Fuquay-Varina and the greater SW Wake community, Frances Howard has been a lifeline of hope and healing. The Chamber is proud to recognize her achievements and her contributions to our community with this prestigious award.
Also recognized at the banquet were outgoing board members: Steve Ashworth, Stephen Peacock, and Tom Williford. All three gentlemen have provided a combined 15 years of experience and leadership in setting direction for the Chamber and we appreciate their hard work and dedication.
Thanks to the planning committee and dedicated volunteers who helped make last night’s event a lasting memory for so many people! We also thank our incredible sponsors for their help in making this event a success: Presenting Sponsor Williford Funeral Home, Dessert Sponsor Rainbow Home Interiors, Decorations Sponsor Joseph P. Ogburn, Print Sponsor Joseph C. Woodard Printing, Graphics Sponsors Amico Brand Design and TEC Graphics, and Media Sponsors Peacock Creative Services and Amazing Studios.
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