The Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce recently held a volunteer recognition dinner and inducted its new officers and board of directors.
“This has been a really great year for the Chamber,” said Executive Director Amy Simmons.
This past year, the Chamber held a slate of annual events, including its bridal show, golf tournament and Easter egg hunt. It also created the new Millsboro Country Festival, which was considered a huge success in its first year.
“That was almost a year in the making,” Simmons said of the festival. “I couldn’t have done that without pretty much all of you in this room at some point, somehow,” she told those at the Dec. 5 event. “It was a labor of love.”
Simmons thanked the Chamber members and volunteers who worked countless hours to help make the festival a reality.
“These people worked tirelessly to help put this together,” she said.
“We couldn’t have done it without you,” exclaimed Kathie Robinette of Delmarva Broadcasting.
Simmons also thanked Coastal Point Publisher Susan Lyons for the newspaper’s help with the festival.
“I want to say a personal thank you to Susan Lyons and the Coastal Point. They helped us a great deal with finessing up our logo for the Millsboro Country Festival.”
She also thanked her husband, Robert, and son Ben for their support. She also thanked Ben’s girlfriend, Monica Badiacco, who painted the signs for the festival.
“She painted all of the wood signs,” she said. “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
Also on Dec. 5, a slate of new Chamber officers — including John Thoroughgood of Thoro-Good’s Concrete, Kris Adams of Mattress Peddlers, Kathie Robinette of Delmarva Broadcasting, Kevin Turner of Remedy Electric, Jennifer Antonelli of Comcast Spotlight and Bob Cardaneo of Cruise One, the Cardanea Crew — was sworn in by Millsboro Mayor Robert Bryan.
Also sworn in were the Chamber directors through 2014, Henrietta Belcher-Stack of WSFS, Mary Ann Leager of M&T Bank, Crystal Hudson of the Bank of Delmarva, Katie Miller of Chesapeake Eye Center, as well as the Chamber’s directors through 2015, Joe Beail of Clear Channel Radio, John Moore of Peninsula Dental, Brian McManus of Lennar Homes and Jess Wiggins of Blue Water Grill.
Simmons said the departure of the outgoing directors was of note.
“I’m going to miss all of these people, and they’ve been on the board pretty much since I got my job. It’s like I’m losing a part of my family — we’re a fairly close-knit board. But I am looking forward to the new blood that’s coming on, too,” said Simmons.
The Dec. 5 event also included a presentation of the Chamber’s Business of the Year award to Mattress Peddlers.
“The Business of the Year is calculated by the amount of money they donate as sponsorship to the Chamber,” explained Simmons, noting that Mattress Peddlers had helped sponsor the golf tournament and Country Festival.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Turner, who Simmons said was an integral part of the Country Festival.
“It’s really hard to pick one person, especially this year, but someone who stood out beyond what needed to be done. I wish I could’ve given it to all of our volunteers,” she said. “Kevin is kind of a behind-the-scenes guy. No matter what you ask him to do, pretty much before you ask him, he’ll have it done. He helps us in a lot of ways.”
Adams presented awards to recognize three members for their years of service to the Chamber — Virgil Ellwanger, Sandy Craig and Randy Dell.
“You get out of it what you put in it, and that exemplifies what the Chamber is,” said Adams. “Virgil, he has been really involved with the Chamber since the ‘70s, in every capacity imaginable.”
“He has been on the board since the mid-’70s. He’s been an icon of the Chamber,” added Simmons.
Craig, who will be retiring from Fulton Bank this year, has helped the Chamber with multiple events.
“She has helped at the Christmas parades, has always helped with making sure we get sponsorships for our events,” said Adams.
“She’s volunteered for our bridal shows. She’s always been there to help us with the Christmas parade lineup,” added Simmons.
Adams also thanked Randy Dell of Suburban Propane for his service to the Chamber.
“I want to thank Randy for all of his years of service,” said Adams.
“Randy was my left hand, and Sandy was my left,” said Simmons. “He’ll do pretty much whatever you ask him to do.”
Simmons said that it is because of the Chamber’s volunteers that it is able to hold so many popular events.
“I have a core group of people I can always count on to help with whatever event. There are certain people who like to do certain events, and I know I have them to depend on,” she said. “The Chamber could not function and do all that it does without all of our volunteers.”
The Chamber plans to add another event to its repertoire this February — a ’50s-style Sock Hop.
“Kevin Turner came up with this idea,” said Simmons. “We haven’t had anything like it. People ask me if we’re ever going to have dances again, ‘like you used to have at the civic center?’ So we’re going to try this. So, ladies, pull out your poodle skirts, and guys, get your white Ts ready and slick your hair back.”
Tickets for the Sock Hop will go on sale later this month, and Simmons said that attendees will be able to enjoy a dinner platter that evening.
The chamber currently has about 150 member businesses, and this year it had more than 75 individual volunteers help with various events. She added that she hopes to see the Chamber continue to grow in the years to come.
“I see very positive things coming to the Chamber. More businesses are coming into the area and joining, which is good,” she said. “I’ve seen a tremendous growth in the Chamber over the past few years that I’ve been here. We have our core events that I know everyone is looking forward to enjoying again next year.”
The Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce is located in the Millsboro Town Center, at 322 Wilson Highway in downtown Millsboro. For more information, call (302) 934-6777 or visit www.millsborochamber.com.