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Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner Highlights

With the articles of incorporation going back to 1941, the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce has seen many changes.  The last year has been marked by even more. With new staff, a new facility, and new challenges in a post-COVID world the Chamber brought a new resilience to our position as the voice of business in the Columbia Montour region.

On February 28, the Chamber's 2024 Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony brought all of that to bear.  A crowd of 230 attendees celebrated the successes experienced by members and the Chamber itself, and Chamber leaders shared their vision for the future.  To help bring that vision to fruition, the Chamber membership approved a slate of board members and Officers.  Mike Morgan, Geisinger, Josh Nespoli, Community Strategies Group, Aaron Stagliano, McKonly & Asbury, Deb Shade, Elmdale Inn were all elected to serve three-year terms, Todd Shawver, Commonwealth University – Bloomsburg, Jason Huff, Autoneum, Jon Littlewood, First Keystone Community Bank were all elected to one-year terms, and following individuals were elected to serve as officers Bob Stoudt, Chair, Renee Gerringer, Vice Chair, Aaron Stagliano, Vice Chair, Holly Morrison, Treasurer, Chris Stamatedes, Immediate Past Chair.  Chair of the Chamber, Chris Stamatedes of PPL also appointed Jessica McNamara, Great Dane, Noah Naparsteck, Esq., Luschas, Naparsteck, & Crane, and David Utt, Journey Bank to serve one-year terms.

While the election of board members and Officers is part of the important work of the Chamber, the real highlight of the evening was the Annual Awards presentation.  With 22 separate organizations and individuals nominated for awards, the awards committee comprised Michelle Boone, Press Enterprise, Mark Gardner, Honorary Chamber Member, Renee Gerringer, Ronald McDonald House of Danville, Harry Mathias, Mathias Educational Leadership Consulting, Ruth Wardrop, Seven Mountains Media, Jeff Whitenight, Journey Bank, and Tim Wagner of Downtown Bloomsburg Inc. had a tough job of selecting this year's winners.

The Chamber’s five annual awards were presented to:

Small Business of the Year - Craft Catering LLC is known among many community members, not only because of their food and event planning but also because they are actively involved in making their community a fantastic place to live. A women-owned organization, they have demonstrated creativity and sensitivity to a diverse customer base - broadening their offerings to accommodate more dietary options, bring in fresh ingredients, and purchase their produce locally. They support many local non-profits such as the Berwick YMCA, Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble, and Hand in Hand Family Resource Center by sponsoring events and providing in-kind contributions.

Large Business of the Year - Hayden Power Group was the vision of husband and wife team George and Florence Hayden who started the business in their home in 1975. Hayden has expanded their services from residential to commercial, industrial, and medium/high voltage, substation construction, and offering of design/build options for its customers. They have expanded into new markets establishing a presence in Central Pennsylvania with the acquisition of the Howard Organization in Bloomsburg. Hayden Power Group is involved in the community through membership and support of over 25 community organizations.

Nonprofit of the Year - The Gatehouse, a nonprofit founded in 1997 to provide safe shelter to homeless families in Columbia and Montour Counties, The Gatehouse is so much more than a shelter – they’re built on the vision to keep families in crisis together. This means they are a connector to stability, including obtaining employment, affordable housing, furthering education, and gaining important life skills. The Gatehouse offers seven rooms, five of which are dedicated to families and two to  individuals.

Community Progress Award - Berwick Area YMCA for their Gym addition and facility updates - Construction began in August 2022 on the Berwick Area YMCA’s gym addition and was completed in May 2023. The project invested $5.1 million in facilities, including a 24% expansion of the interior, or 12,000 square feet. The gym expansion included an additional 10,000 square feet of existing facility renovations, and an additional 12,200 square feet of parking was added. This project removed three blighted structures surrounding the YMCA, bringing new energy to the corner of 3rd and Vine streets in Berwick.

Outstanding Citizen - Bonnie Trump - From working to get Danville its fountain to serving as President and involvement in the Columbia Montour Soroptimists, Bonnie has made a career of giving back to the community. She sits on many boards and panels from the Women's Giving Circle to the Danville Community Giving Foundation. She has served as Director and VP of The Danville Chamber of Commerce, a Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®(PAR) Code of Ethics Instructor, PAR Education Instructor, Danville's Business Alliance Design Committee member, and many more. Her involvement is a storied history of giving to our community.

These five award recipients offer us a picture of our larger business community which exemplifies leadership, creativity, staying power, response to adversity, and a positive community image. The Chamber, its members, and community partners excitedly look ahead for more, never satisfied that we’ve finished working to make this place even better.

Check out the photos from last night in this Google Photos Album, also shown below!



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