Friday, January 22, 2016

Chamber honors community leaders, installs board at Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting award winners, from left: Courtney Angell Sumpter, Young Entrepreneur Award; Chuck Vondra, accepting Volunteer of the Year Award on behalf of his late father Ed Vondra; Jill and Jim Habasco, Entrepreneur of the Year (tie), Bob Grove, Sally Roselli Leadership Award; Mark Warner, Entrepreneur of the Year (tie); Asuka Barden, accepting Heritage Award for her grandfather Ed Barden; Kyle Marshall, accepting Heritage Award on behalf of Mary Palmer; Susan Conklin, Community Pride Award for Good Neighbors Food Pantry.
A crowd of 335 people attended the Boyne Area Chamber Annual Meeting at Boyne Mountain, enjoying great food and drink, entertainment and the presentation of awards to community leaders and organizations. The Chamber Board of Directors was installed with Karen Guzniczak honored for completing her year as president and Emily Wilmot starting her year as the incoming president. Full board.
> Petoskey News-Review story and photo.
The award winners are:
> Volunteer of the Year - Ed Vondra, long-time member of the Boyne City School Board, who died unexpectedly in September at the age of 66.  Ed is remembered for his extensive capacity for caring and involvement in many community events - especially those related to our schools. Accepting the award was Ed’s son, Chuck Vondra.
> Community Pride Award - Good Neighbors Food Pantry for starting a new, larger community pantry, which is open every Tuesday. Director Susan Conklin created a partnership with the Boyne Free Clinic, which provided a great space for the pantry.
> Young Entrepreneur of the Year - Courtney Angell Sumpter of Northern Michigan Equine Therapy. Her work with at-risk young people through the non-profit organization she started is dramatically changing lives.
> Entrepreneurs of the Year - A tie vote: Jim and Jill Habasco started Big E’s Smoke Shack in Boyne Falls. Right after they opened, they won first prize in the Green Light East Jordan Business Model Competition for their unique new store. The Smoke Shack sells smoked fish, shrimp, pulled pork and homemade fish and salmon dips.
Also honored was Mark Warner of Northern Table, which brought a fresh new idea – “farm to table” - to the area. Upstairs, the Boyne Pub is a sports bar specializing in wood-fired pizzas.
> Heritage Award - A tie vote:
Ed Barden of F.O. Barden & Sons Lumber has donated countless hours and properties to the community and schools. You would need to look for a long time to find a family that has been a pillar of the Boyne business community for as long as the Bardens. Ed’s granddaugher Asuka Barden accepted the award on his behalf.
Mary Palmer of Magnum Hospitality - It was 1997 when Mary and her partners supercharged the Boyne City dining scene by opening Red Mesa Grill. Five years ago they opened Café Sante just a couple of blocks away. Kyle Marshall accepted the award for Mary, who is celebrating her recent retirement vacationing in Europe with her husband Don.
> The Sally Roselli Business Leadership Award (presented by Sally's sister, Julie Wellman) - Mike Dow and Bob Grove purchased the lakefront land across from Family Fare and offered it to the city at their cost so it can be preserved as open space. The city is leasing the property for $1 and exploring grants and other funding options.

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