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And The Awards Go To…

And The Awards Go To…

by Kevin Kieft, President/CEO of the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce and EDC

Happy holidays, everyone! Around the middle of the year, the Lake Wales Area Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual awards ceremony. The awards honor citizens and businesses who’ve made a big difference in the community throughout the year.

While we could not host our awards gala in person due to these uncertain times, we could still move forward with accepting nominations, our committee selecting the winners, and honoring them like any other year.

We are currently producing a video announcing and highlighting the winners. We will upload the video onto our website in the next few weeks. However, here’s a sneak peek of this year’s winners and their contributions to their local community:

Larry Bossarte – Citizen of the Year Award

A licensed real estate broker and appraiser, Larry Bossarte has more than 40 years of experience in the real estate industry, especially in Lake Wales. He has utilized that experience to aid the city with economic development through commercial real estate. Furthermore, he has served on numerous boards and committees. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of our Chamber Ambassador’s Program.

As someone who has been more than willing to give his time helping the community, from working in the real estate industry to serving with the Chamber and Lake Wales Main Street, Larry embodies the Citizen of the Year. He wants to make Lake Wales better, and he gives his own time to help make that happen. We could not think of a better person for the award than him.

Gail Quam – The Jerry Miller Community Leadership Award

This award goes to a person who might not be active with the Chamber, but who is more than involved in the community. The award is named after Jerry Miller, a former chamber chairman who served on many boards and committees and who recently passed away. As someone who embodied the award’s spirit, it’s only fitting we rename it in his honor.

This year’s award goes to Gail Quam, Principal of Polk Avenue Elementary School. Gail has served the Lake Wales community, both through her students and outside of the school walls, so we thought she was the perfect person to receive that award.

Chief Joe Jenkins – Public Servant of the Year Award

Since taking charge of the Lake Wales Fire Department, Chief Joe Jenkins has proven to be a real asset to the city, especially during these uncertain times. He and his team have been on the frontlines with everything concerning COVID-19 this year. He has been the go-to person for updates, and he has worked as a pandemic expert with different agencies in the city. We want to

thank Chief Joe for everything he does, but all the more so this year because he has gone above and beyond with his department.

McKeon Chiropractic Clinic, P.A. – Carl F. Durso Award for Excellence in Business (small business)

McKeon Chiropractic Clinic has not only been an exceptional chiropractic practitioner, but they have also volunteered in the Lake Wales community. They have served with different boards, committees, and churches, to assist the local community, especially during these uncertain times. This year, they have stood out offering what they do, making them a prime candidate for this award.

Dyer Kia Dyer Chevrolet – Carl F. Durso Award for Excellence in Business (large business)

Dyer Kia Dyer Chevrolet has grown over the years, not only with their business but also with their local community involvement. They recently expanded into their new facility along Highway 27. They have also worked with the Chamber, and they have donated to many local non-profits. A business with such an extensive outreach deserves the award for the best large business.

Congratulations to all our winners. We apologize for not being able to host our awards in person this year. If you go on our website, you’ll be able to see our video honoring them. And when you see our winners in person, congratulate them because these five awards are the five most significant awards of the year.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to everyone, and hopefully, everyone has a Happy New Year. We look forward to a prosperous 2021!

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