HARTFORD – More than 200 members and supporters of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce gathered in the Chandelier Ballroom on Thursday evening to celebrate 50 years of commitment and involvement with the city.
The theme of the night was “Hollywood Walk of Fame,” and the room was covered with a red carpet.
Founded in 1922, the Chamber’s mission is to support and nurture the growth of the community. The 12-member Board of Directors is elected annually from among its members.
The organization is run by full-time staff and is supported by a variety of volunteers, including members of the Chamber’s Ambassador Club and committee members, who help maintain and support programs and services.
The evening was sponsored by the law firm of O’Meara, Forte Financial Advisors and the Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce. Other sponsors include Hartford Business Improvement District, Keller Inc., Creations 101 and HED Controls Inc.
The show is hosted by outgoing Executive Director Dana Osmanski and hosts WTKM Radio’s Dave Stout.
“I am humbled that so many people have voiced their thoughts and enabled me to do this job well. I look forward to working with the board and staff, who are amazing and highly regarded,” Osmanski said.
Other speakers included Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann, who said, “What’s special about what we’re seeing here is social networking and helping others in need.”
“I don’t go a day that I don’t enjoy living in the most beautiful city in Wisconsin,” said Mayor Timothy Michalak.
Awards were then presented.
HED Controls (Hydro Electronic Devices Inc.) received the President’s Award. The company is one of the world’s leading designers of vehicle control systems, including controllers, displays and keypads.
“It surprised me—I’m new to the organization. I think control is really important,” HED Vice President Matt Via said when accepting the award.
The Business of the Year award goes to Perc Place, recognizing a business that contributes to Hartford’s economic growth and quality of life, and whose practices and professional conduct help create a sense of collaboration throughout the business community. Located in downtown Hartford, the restaurant offers a menu crafted from fresh, organic ingredients.
“We want to thank the community for helping us get this far,” said Perc Place’s Fatima Gomez.
The Hartford Achievement Award, which recognizes an organization that goes above and beyond in its community commitment, was presented to Buck Blodgett of the LOVE > hate Project, whose mission is to end violence against women and inspire love, not hate. Blodgett, who lost his daughter to violence 10 years ago, said: “Hartford supports us. I just love this town. This award is for the project and for all the people who helped, loved and assisted in the project . Our family owes this town a lot.”
Al and Carolyn Laufer of Laufer Trucking received the Jim & Dorothy Algiers Service to the Community Award. Laufers, who has been doing business in Hartford, said, “Hartford represents the best of Washington County and all of Wisconsin. Thank you everyone for the honor.
Brewed Omen was named Rookie of the Year. This is the first year of the award, which recognizes new Hartford businesses that demonstrate economic growth and development within their first 12-15 months. Brewed Omen is a neighborhood tasting room experience. Its goal is to provide a meeting place to network in good company.
“We still get excited when someone says ‘Hartford needs this.’ We’re proud to be part of the community,” said Brewed Omen’s Kyle Sikora and Bill Ohm.
LeAnn Boudwine is honored with the Volunteer of the Year award for her support of military initiatives. For over 15 years, Boudwine has been sending care packages to troops overseas – with a total of 15,000 packages delivered to date.
“It’s a thank you to the veterinarians,” Budwin said. “This award is for them and their families. We are free because of them,” she added.
Following the awards ceremony, the organization’s new president, Kristen Strupp, was introduced. “I started out as an ambassador; I wanted to be involved with the organization. The staff are an amazing team and I admire their courtesy and stability towards our mission,” she said.