Chamber of Commerce recognizes members at annual meeting

DOWAGIAC — Members of Dowagiac’s business community filled the Dowagiac Elks Lodge Wednesday evening at an event designed to celebrate them.

The Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual chamber dinner and meeting. At the event, not only did the chamber go over what it and the city has been up to over the last year, but it also recognizes and awards chamber members for their participation.

“I think we all feel that this is a celebration of our members,” said Vickie Phillipson, programs director for the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce. “This is our way of thanking everyone that has put feet on the street, have contributed to sponsorships and just in terms of their membership. This is a truly just a great celebration.”

Five chamber members were given official awards Wednesday. All winners were chosen by committee, Phillipson said.

2018 awardees include:

• The Partnership Award was given to Chuck Timmons, of the Dowagiac Masons, for community involvement and for helping the chamber to host events.

“Chuck Timmons has been a true lifesaver,” said Rose Middleton-Willson, secretary of the chamber board and the presenter of Wednesday’s program. “Not only does he help out during our festivals, he is the right-hand man at the Dowagiac Area History Museum, chair of the advisory committee, organizes their fundraiser, just to mention a few. He is the organizer of the Memorial Day Parade and even helps out with the blood drives in town. Chuck Timmons, we are so grateful for everything you do, and I am honored to present you with this year’s Partnership Award.”

• The Rising Star Award was presented to Michelle Stambaugh of Mud-Luscious. The Rising Star Award is presented each year to the business or businesses that have surpassed even their own goals for their new business.

“This year, we are awarding a business who was here, then gone, now back again and really finding its niche,” Willson said. “She is a fabulous hostess, teacher and business owner. … She is growing, she is exploring and she is delivering. I am honored to present this year’s Rising Star Award to Michelle Stambaugh.”

• The Shining Star Award was presented to Becky Moore of Accounting Consultants. The Shining Star Award is presented to a person or business that seems to be everywhere and doing everything, Willson said, adding that Moore is involved in the community through the 4-H fair, 100 Women Who Care, the Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees, ACTION Ministries and the Niles Salvation Army.

“We are beyond grateful to have you here in this community,” Willson said to Moore Wednesday.

• The Member of the Year award was presented to Nancy Bourlier of 1st Source Bank.

“Our definition of Member of the Year is someone that is a huge supporter of the chamber,” Willson said. “If you ever need any help, you just ask [Bourlier] and she will volunteer her whole team. She is supportive, active and community focused.”

• A special award was presented to Sue Kazlauskas, who retired earlier this year from the Marshall Shoppe.

“[Kazlauskas] is someone who has given so much of herself to Dowagiac for decades,” Willson said. “She has been the core of our community, the one whom many model themselves after. She has been active with the DDA, co-chaired events and volunteered with many organizations. She has been a leader and will continue to lead, I have no doubt. We thank you for all your hard work and we look forward to the years ahead.”

Willson thanked all the awardees for their dedication to the community and also extended a thank you to all the chamber members in attendance Wednesday.

“Thank you all for being here and being a part of the chamber,” she said. “I hope tonight was inspirational, educational and just plain fun.”

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