By LISA CAPOBIANCO
The Bristol Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to celebrate the “all heart” contributions of local folks and individuals.
On Thursday, June 16, the chamber will honor six award recipients during the 127th Annual Dinner Meeting: Don Soucy, Tom LaPorte, C&R Marketing Services, By Carrier, Inc., Marty Hurwitz, and Mark DiVenere. The event will take place at the Aqua Turf at 5:30 p.m.
“We always seem to find really good people representing the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and the city of Bristol,” said Cindy Scoville, president and CEO of the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce. “Even though we’re a city, it gives you the small community feeling of caring.”
A long-time member of the Bristol Chamber, Marty Hurwitz owned and operated Harvest Bakery with his wife Jackie from 1979 until this past May. Open since Memorial Day 1941, Harvest Bakery has become an integral part of the Bristol. Becoming the third generation to enter his family business, Hurwitz helped the community in any way he could during his tenure, whether that meant donating baked goods to different events and organizations or contributing gift cards to local fundraisers.
Hurwitz sold the bakery to Paul Dinoia and his sister Karen Nocera, who have promised to continue the recipes and traditions of the business since it began. Now planning to enjoy retirement with his wife, Hurwitz will receive the Special Recognition Award, which honors those who support the goals of the chamber and its mission in an exceptional, positive way.
“Marty is melded into the community. He’s such a big part of Bristol in everything that he does—how he ran his business, how he treated the people,” said Scoville.
Another individual who has made a mark on Bristol is Don Soucy, who became the Little League Baseball International East Region Director in 1991, and oversaw the construction and operation of the Giamatti Little League Center on Mix Street. He also played a role in making softball in the eastern region the largest softball program in Little League baseball.
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, Soucy has volunteered in a variety of organizations, committees and boards, from the Bristol Exchange Club to the Kiwanis Club to the Board of Finance and the Board of Education.
Soucy will receive the Spirit of Bristol Award, which recognizes motivated and dynamic individuals who truly put service and community above self.
“Don Soucy is all-heart Bristol, very much engaged in the city of Bristol,” said Scoville, adding that Soucy brings energy into everything he does.
Meanwhile, C&R will receive the Distinguished Small Business of the Year Award, which honors smaller businesses that go above and beyond to support the community’s quality of life. Located in the historic Sessions Clock building, C&R has grown into a full service marketing company that offers everything from strategy and planning to design and production. With the help of his father, owner Chris Bottino started the business at the age of 12 in the basement of his family’s Bristol home. Demonstrating perseverance, Bottino continued to grow C&R during middle school and high school, and the business outgrew the Bottino family home before he entered college.
Over the past 27 years, C&R has provided a wealth of knowledge to assist all stages of a project, capturing 100 percent customer loyalty.
“At a very young age [Chris] disciplined himself on quality, integrity,” said Scoville. “Small businesses are the life blood of our economy.”
Every year, the chamber honors one of the area’s larger companies that advance the community’s welfare, culture, economy or quality of life. A family-owned business since 1971, By Carrier, Inc. will receive the Distinguished Large Business of the Year Award.
Comprised of six brothers, the company builds homes using top quality and cutting-edge products to ensure buyers get the highest standard of excellence.
In addition to distributing scholarships, By Carrier also brings in students to home communities so they can understand what it means to be a builder.
“It’s all about the integrity of what… they do,” said Scoville. “They put a lot of hard work, skilled labor on building quality homes.”
A lifelong Bristol resident, Mark DiVenere will receive the E. Bartlett Barnes Distinguished Service Award, which is the chamber’s highest award for an individual who exemplifies the integrity and spirit of one of Bristol’s greatest business pillars: Bart Barnes.
The owner and president of Gemco Manufacturing Company, DiVenere is active in the community with a strong belief that everyone must take responsibility for continuing the traditions of past generations. From the Bristol Boys & Girls Club to the Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut to the manufacturing division of the Central Connecticut Chamber, he has served on numerous boards and chaired a variety of committees.
“He has truly given back to the community,” said Scoville. “He’s leaving a very nice footprint.”
Another individual who has led a spirit of volunteerism in Bristol is Tom LaPorte, who worked at New Departure from 1959 to 1992. LaPorte’s involvement includes serving on the Bristol Historical Society’s board as well as the Bristol Library Board, where he helped create the Bristol History room photographic display. A member of TEAM Bristol, LaPorte organized a committee to raise funds for the construction of the Revolutionary War Monument on Memorial Boulevard. He also was instrumental in erecting and dedicating the Civil War Monument in 2011.
LaPorte will receive the Volunteer of the Year Award.