When I first moved to Florida over 32 years ago, I must admit, I fell in love with the weather and my house. When my husband asked me if I wanted to move from Northern New Jersey, one of the most expensive counties in the country where the sun didn’t shine every day, to the West Orange / Orlando area, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. After all these years, I still love where I live for those two reasons and so many others. Yet, the most important reason are the people.
Out of all the great assets that we have, the greatest asset are our people; the residents , neighbors who work to make West Orange the best place. They are the entrepreneurs, the non-profit and for-profit business owners and teams, the community organizers and volunteers that contribute to every aspect of our everyday lives and to improve and build upon our quality of life for all our residents.
Having served in my capacity of Chamber president for 20 years, I have had the pleasure of working with so many wonderful people and the organizations they represent. The Chamber’s own history over the past 50 years, beginning in 1972, touts a long list of volunteers having earned awards distributed annually over our history. The list has included high-ranking corporate leaders, to elected officials and appointed officials, to sole proprietorship owners in fields ranging from photography to HR to insurance. We have had the honor of recognizing young and old, men and women, moms and dads, grandparents and veterans and people of diverse backgrounds.
This year is no different as we celebrate our 50 th anniversary at Walt Disney World’s Coronado Springs on Feb. 11. That evening we will be presenting awards to another group of notable people and organizations. We will honor Commissioner Joseph McMullen of the town of Oakland with the Sam Hovsepian award and Joe Dunn of Friends of Lake Apopka with the George Bailey Award. Lynetta Tipton of Valley Bank has earned the Mary Vandeventer – Spirit of West Orange Award. The West Orange Healthcare District will be presented with the Bert Roper Award. JoAnne Quarles of Treasure Title Insurance Services will receive the Danniel J. Petro – Bright Future of West Orange Award
Our 2021 Chairwoman, Camille Evans has selected Orlando City Commissioner Bakari Burns to receive her award. One final award, presented by the Ambassadors of the Chamber to one of their own is the Lifetime Ambassador Award for Joan Bailey of Edgewood Children’s Ranch.
Join me at Big Orange Awards with a 70’s inspired theme to celebrate the Small and Big Business Members and these individuals and organizations who advance our community through the spirit of collaboration and leadership. Visit wochamber.com.