The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce recognized extraordinary businesses and individuals who positively contributed to the West Hartford community through their hard work and perseverance at their annual meeting Monday evening at the Pond House Café.
By Maddie Geerlof and Ryley McGinnis
The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce elected board members and honored member businesses for their outstanding work in several categories at its annual dinner Monday night at the Pond House Café, and we-ha.com Managing Editor Ronni Newton received the 2018 Noah Webster Award at the West Hartford’s Chamber of Commerce 31st Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner for her contributions to the community on Monday evening.
“We in West Hartford like to be involved in our town,” said Dave Calibey, now the ex-officio and former chair of the Chamber of Commerce as he introduced Newton and added, “And in order to do that we need to be informed.”
Calibey explained that through Newton’s late night publications, persistent reporting, and willingness to attend countless events, she has kept the West Hartford community well-informed and up-to-date on all of its many whereabouts.
During her thank-you speech Newton said that when she received a phone call from Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Lerner, she immediately started to take notes about the event thinking that she would later have to report on it. Little did Newton know that Lerner was calling to inform Newton that she would be the recipient of the award for her hard work, dedication, and passion for the town of West Hartford.
The Noah Webster Award, which was established in 1989, is a nomination-based awarded for outstanding members of the community who exemplify “extraordinary commitment to the Town of West Hartford.”
“I was floored, humbled, and really, really surprised … and I wanted to thank everyone who reads we-ha.com,” Newton said. Newton also thanked her family for their support.
During the dinner, which was held at the Pond House Café in Elizabeth Park, the Chamber of Commerce also recognized the growth and accomplishments of local businesses as well as the positive impacts that extraordinary West Hartford residents have contributed to the community.
Several business owners were highlighted in a featured video and received the Chamber Spotlight on Success awards. The individuals who received the awards were Steve Morris of Favarh – The Arc of the Farmington Valley, Andrew Bachman of Trout Brook Tree Services, Helen Brower and Cesar Contreras of Sally & Bob’s Eatery, Dave Souza of GOLFTEC, Matt Banever of Daswani Clothiers, and Cailin McBee of Balance Massage Therapy.
The Volunteer of the Year Award, which is awarded to a member of the Chamber for contributions to the organization and its members, was given to Bob Newbold for his advocacy for stroke awareness. Newbold, who suffered from a stroke last year but was able to fully recover, explained that his goal is to have future stroke victims have the same, positive outcome that he had.
Rennie Polk of the American School for the Deaf announced this year’s nonprofit grant recipients – the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, which received $1,500 for educational programs; the Tri-Town YMCA which received $1,500 for their summer STEM programs; and the Fern Street Food Ministry who was awarded $2,000 for a new refrigeration system to help with the rising number of people who use the food pantry.
The Chamber also recognized Chip Janiszewski as the recipient of Ambassador of the Year Award, and the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools was given a grant for Sedgwick Middle School’s robotics club that will fund purchase of a 3D printer and other equipment.
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