Bristol chamber distributes honors at annual dinner

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The Greater Bristol Chamber of Commerce hosted the 129th Annual Awards Dinner at the Aqua Turf Club on Wednesday, June 6, to honor six Bristol organizations, businesses, and individuals.

“We’re going to honor some incredibly distinguished individuals throughout the community and organizations who truly represent the essence and the spirit of what the Chamber of Commerce is all about,” said Susan Sadecki, immediate past chair of the Chamber board of directors.

The Outstanding Community Service award was awarded to the past and current board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Bristol Family Center. President and chief volunteer officer, Mark DiVenere, accepted the award on behalf of all past members of the Boys and Girls Club.

“I want to begin by thanking the nominating committee, Cindy and Susan, for honoring the past and present directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Bristol Family Center with this prestigious award,” said DiVenere. “Being recognized this evening by the Chamber and community that we service is the greatest honor that an organization can hope to achieve.”

The Spirit of Bristol award was presented to the Mum Festival Committee, and was accepted by Shannen Tack.

“It really is a tremendous honor to accept this award on behalf of the whole committee, and we want to sincerely thank the Bristol Chamber of Commerce for recognizing our group as the recipient of this years Spirit of Bristol award,” said Tack. “But really, the success of the festival wouldn’t be possible without the support that we receive from the City of Bristol, and also from the community, the many volunteers, the generous sponsors, the businesses, the organizations, and schools.”

Special Recognition went to the Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut, Inc. Accepting the award was executive director, Scott Heth.

“If you’re like me, even thinking about a natural area reduces my blood pressure, it makes me relax, it makes me more focused. And, if just thinking about it does all those things, imagine if you’re in nature enjoying it,” said Heth. “And that’s what we try to do everyday at the Environmental Learning Centers: we try to inspire an appreciation and enjoyment of nature.”

Emily’s Catering Group was awarded the Distinguished Business of the Year award. The award was accepted by owner and chef, Rick Kerzner.

“Thank you for recognizing me and my company,” said Kerzner. “I’m just thankful to be a part of this community. Thank you.”

The Volunteer of the Year award was awarded to Linda Lubrico, executive director of the Miss Forestville and Miss Bristol Scholarship Organization.

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized with so many great award winners this year,” said Lubrico. “When I was younger my mother taught me how to volunteer, and I took it to heart. I am just humbled because I don’t do it to be recognized, I do it because it’s in my heart and my soul to give back to my community.”

And, the E. Bartlett Barnes Distinguished Service award was presented to Timothy W. Furey. Furey is a lawyer and partner with Furey, Donovan, Tracy, and Daly.

“I want to thank you for your support of all of these fine award recipients, and the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, by being here tonight,” said Furey. “Each of the past recipients of this award had a profound impact on my life. I’m overwhelmed by having my name considered in the same breath with these legends, and all they have done for the community.”

Sadecki and Chamber president and CEO, Cindy Bombard, also presented a special Lifetime Community Service award to Barbara and John Letizia, in recognition of their retirements.

“Our mission statement,” said Bombard, “Businesses working together to promote regional prosperity and community vitality: together, we have it right.”