Chamber Speaker Michael Pelletier, left, and Chamber of Commerce Secretary Brian LeClair, right, applaud as Board of Directors Candace Bishop Conlon holds an Outstanding Leadership Citation for former President Daniel Brothers. (Libby O’Neill)
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MARBLEHEAD – The Chamber of Commerce recognized eight Marblehead individuals and businesses during its community awards celebration and 70th annual meeting at the Corinthian Yacht Club on Tuesday.
Each year the chamber recognizes individuals and businesses who have given back to the Marblehead community. This year, the Chamber of Commerce awarded six prizes to the recipients. This year’s Rey Moulton Personality of the Year is Brian Wheeler, a musician who helped plan the Arts Festival for decades. Discover Marblehead’s Melissa Stacey received the Frank Regan Community Service Award.
“This event is a chance for us to recognize outstanding service and commitment to our community,” said Katherine Koch, Executive Director of the chamber. “It’s a really fun night, and it’s a privilege to be able to do this.”
The chamber recognized Mud Puddle Toys as its Business of the Year and Marblehead Dollars for Scholars as its Nonprofit of the Year. The Marblehead Disabilities Commission and the Marblehead Harbors and Waters Board received this year’s Harbor Award. Special recognition was given to urban planner Becky Curran Cutting and Adam Moore of Academy Mortgage.
The award recipients and around 100 of their friends and family dressed up and filled the tables in the indoor dining room at the Corinthian Yacht Club on Tuesday evening. Notably, Essex 8th District elected representative Jenny Armini and Marblehead Select board chairman Moses Grader were in attendance.
Guests heard speeches from the winners as well as members of the Chamber of Commerce, including President Michael Pelletier. He said the chamber was in the best financial position it had ever seen in its 74 years of existence and ended his speech with a toast to ’74 more’.
“We need to educate people about what the Chamber of Commerce is and teach them how to shop local,” Pelletier said. “Small businesses are the backbone of this city and they will continue to be.”
The Chamber’s Person of the Year award is presented to an individual who has had a positive impact on the community and “embodies the definition of a true leader,” according to the 2022 Community Awards Nomination Form. Koch said said Wheeler had received dozens of nominations and that selecting him as Person of the Year was a “no-brainer”.
“My message is very simple: be of service,” Wheeler said. “Find a void and fill it. … I invite you all to be of service and if you are lucky like me, you will have a wonderful life.
The Frank Regan Community Service Award went to Stacey, whose love for Marblehead is “infectious”, according to Koch. Stacey said she started Discover Marblehead four years ago to be a “non-stop shop” for tourists, locals and newcomers to town.
“My grandfather grew up in Marblehead. He loved this city and he instilled that in me,” Stacey said. “I believe the rising tide lifts all boats and that’s why we do what we do. … Thank you very much for the award, but also thank you very much for your support over the past four years.
Rachel Barber can be reached at [email protected]