SUN CITY CENTER – It was a evening of glitz and glamour at The Resort & Club at Little Harbor Friday as the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce honored its own. About 150 people turned out to celebrate the chamber's success in 2013 and catch a glimpse of its plans for the new year.
Themed “Vintage Hollywood,” the gala took place in the banquet room of Little Harbor's Sunset Grill. After dinner and dessert, outgoing President Jim Wilmouth called for a moment of silence in memory of longtime board member Don Schings, and then installed new directors Heather Campese of Sun City Senior Living and Rosie Korfant of JSA Medical. They replaced Robyn Payant of Payant Financial Services and Charlotte Clark of American Momentum Bank. Each was individually acknowledged for their service, especially Clark, who had served 18 consecutive years.
Wilmouth also swore in officers for 2014 – President Debbie Caneen of Sun Towers; Vice President Cedric Wilson of ServiceMaster 24 Hour Restore; and Secretary Fran Fabbro of Cadence Bank – and returning board members JR Del Castillo of Club Link, Natalia Diaz of South Bay Hospital, Connie Huber of the Tampa Bay Times and Connie Lesko of Freedom Plaza. President-elect Mike Langjahr of Sun City Center Funeral Home and Treasurer Rick Lanese of Lanese & Associates were unable to attend the event and will be installed at the chamber's next board meeting.
“I'm looking forward to a prosperous 2014 and serving with this stellar board of professionals and good friends,” Caneen said. “We're already looking at opportunities for further serving our members and making the chamber even stronger.”
Longtime board member and president John Luper was made the chamber's first director emeritus, and Wilmouth received a plaque of appreciation for his three years as immediate past president.
After Caneen's remarks and a brief address from Executive Director Dana Dittmar, it was on to the awards, which were presented by last year's recipients.
Dexter Charles gave this year's Frank King Volunteer of the Year Award to Mimi VanDevender, and Scott Clark announced Jennifer Petit of ServiceMaster 24 Hour Restore as the chamber's new Ambassador of the Year.
Dee Crofton of Howie's Sun City Center Plumbing gave the Business of the Year Award to Jennifer McCafferty, owner of Jen's Market. And Cynthia Gang named Deb Adams of BMO Harris Bank as the 2013 Community Leader of the Year.
“The banquet was a festive event, a true reflection of all the good things going on at the Sun City Center Chamber right now,” said Lesko. “There was a buzz of excitement about more good things to come in 2014. It was great fun with good people.”
“In 2013 we started the process of becoming accredited with the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals,” she said. “I'm excited about the enthusiasm of the new board and eager to see where its renewed energy takes us this year as we fine tune services we offer our members and create new ways for them to be involved in the community.”