Chamber of Commerce honors award winners

VERO BEACH – The Indian River County Chamber of Commerce honored its 2009 award winners Friday in a ceremony held at the Indian River State College Richardson Center in Vero Beach.

Among the honorees were Bob and Sandy Brackett, who received the Alma Lee Loy Community Service Award. The award is presented to those who distinguish themselves professionally and privately for the Indian River County community at large. “The Brackett’s have been part of the fabric of the Indian River County community for decades and have had a tremendous positive impact on our community,” said Bill Curtis 2009 Outgoing Chairman of the Board. “Their contributions to the community have taken many forms from philanthropic support to noted historic renovation projects. While their generous good work is done in a very quiet, unassuming way, it leaves a lasting legacy in the community.

“The Brackett historic renovation projects have resulted in three buildings being listed on the National Register of Historic Places” and added “their most recent gift to the community is their support of a new joint use library on the Indian River State College Mueller Campus.”

The Chamber’s Carolyn K. Eggert Economic Development Award was presented to Commissioner Peter O’Bryan for his efforts to attract businesses to Indian River County.

Curtis noted that O’Bryan helped revise the county’s Local Jobs Grant incentive program resulting in three companies gaining grants, with an anticipated creation of 160 new positions.

Sheryl Koenes of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort was honored with the Chairman’s Award, given to a person for support critical to the Chamber’s success.

“Sheryl Koenes is a staunch advocate of tourism and has contributed to the county’s tourism program through her volunteer efforts,” Curtis said. “Her understanding of the value of our county beaches to the tourist industry and the overall health of the community.”

Jeff Schlitt of Schlitt Services was named the 2009 Volunteer of the Year. His Chamber involvement includes serving on the Chamber Board of Directors,serving as the chairman of the Chamber’s Finance Committee, and also serving on the Chamber’s Governmental Issues Committee, Ambassadors Division and the first Advisory Council for the Chamber’s Young Professionals Network.

The Chamber named Jim Davis, Treasure and Space Coast Radio as Director of the Year for his work on economic development and tourism functions.

Special recognition was given to Jay Hart and Karen Deigl who successfully co-chaired the Chamber’s capital campaign. During the efforts of the campaign, Hart and Deigl organized volunteers and made numerous calls on members of the community to enlist their support of the campaign. The capital campaign raised nearly $1.4 million in contributions and pledges since the start of the campaign in the fall of 2007.

The Member of the Year award was presented to Brian Holmes, Signs by Tomorrow. Holmes hand-carved and painted the Chamber’s logo and contributed to the new Chamber building.

The Chamber recognized Jack Chesnutt as Ambassador of the year. Chesnutt has been a member and volunteer with the chamber for 59 years.

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