The Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce held its Awards Luncheon and board members installation May 6 at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats.
An event that usually draws well over 100 business representatives and local officials from across the Cape Region was limited to fewer than 100 this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. However, many members made the positive observation that the luncheon was their first in-person gathering since an after-hours mixer March 14, 2020.
As his last act as chamber chairman, Starboard owner Steve Montgomery gave a quick state of the chamber overview. Businesses fear the unknown, and for over a year now none have known what the next day is going to bring, he said. An event like this, he continued, brings hope and optimism.
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s bringing a very busy summer season,” said Montgomery.
As for chamber responsibilities, Montgomery said COVID-19 response consumed everything. He credited chamber President Carol Everhart and her staff with adapting their mission on the fly from promoting events to advocating on behalf of the area’s businesses.
“The chamber has done more than ever over the past year,” said Montgomery. He then handed the ceremonial gavel to Carrie Lingo, Jack Lingo Realtor associate realtor, who will serve as chairwoman for the next two years.
Typically, award winners give speeches, and while they did this year too, they were all brief.
Hudson Fields was named the Mae Hall McCabe Award winner for providing the fields as an open, free space for a number of fundraising efforts over the past year. Christian and Julie Hudson were on hand to accept the award.
Julie credited event organizers and others with doing the hard work. What Hudson Fields does is the easy part, she said.
Christian took the opportunity to say they, like pretty much everyone else in the room, are hiring. It’s getting tiring mowing all the fields, he said.
Beebe Healthcare was named the 2020 Business of the Year.
Joined on stage by a number of his colleagues, Bill Chasanov, Beebe’s COVID-19 medical director, accepted the award. To say this past year was a challenge is an understatement, he said.
Chasanov said he and his colleagues were proud to do their jobs for the local citizenry. He said the staff at Beebe has done great work for the past 14 months, the past 100 years and will do so in the future.
The chamber announced earlier this year the Volunteer of the Year Award was going to permanently be named in honor of Cheryl Blackman, a longtime supporter of all things Rehoboth Beach. Winning the award this year was volunteer Ray Jones.
Jones said he was humbled with the award and thought it was a mistake when he first got the call. He deflected much of the attention, saying he was just one of many volunteers who made the events possible.
A member of numerous town groups and committees, Elaine Bole was recognized as the Dewey Beach Volunteer of the Year. Being involved with the community makes a person feel more involved, she said.
The luncheon ended with the recognition of former board President Scott Swingle, chamber legislative representative Lincoln Willis and Montgomery.