MERIDEN — The Midstate Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 awards ceremony has been moved from April 29 to Sept. 3 because of COVID-19. The ceremony, which will be held at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, will honor six award recipients in five award categories.
“It’s one of our signature events that we have here at the Chamber,” said Rosanne Ford, Midstate Chamber of Commerce president. “Certainly we had to make some changes because of everything that has been happening … This highlights the businesses and individuals that we’re honoring. That’s really what is the most important.”
Members of the Chamber nominate and vote for the businesses and individuals for the awards. A form is handed out to all members of the Chamber to ask for nominees’ names and reasons why that Chamber member believes the business or individual should win the award.
“We get out a form and criteria to all of the members of the Midstate Chamber so they are voting and submitting nominations either on behalf of their own businesses or their fellow members,” Ford said. “Some of these are more like lifetime achievement awards while others we have a couple of newer categories that we’ve added over the years.”
Some of the awards honor businesses in the Meriden area, while others celebrate individuals that make a difference in the community.
For the 24th Annual Large Business Awards, both The Russell Hall Co. in Meriden and the Aqua Turf are the recipients.
Russell Hall, Ford said, has been around for over 150 years and has been a business that serves many different industries, such as healthcare, restaurants and maintenance in the city of Meriden and the entire state.
“This award means a lot to me, and all of us at Russell Hall,” said Bill Rosa, president and owner of Russell Hall. “The entire Russell Hall family believes in the importance of leading by example. We strive to offer the best service to our customers, and to give back to the community that has supported us for so many years.”
The Aqua Turf Club was the other recipient of the award due to it being “at the top in terms of service, food and working with the team there in terms of holding an event,” according to Ford.
The winner of the 19th Annual Small Business Leadership Award is V. Czapiga & Son in Meriden because of its willingness to give back to the community.
“We hope to continue to stay open and serve the people that we do serve and also help out organizations that we do help,” said Walter Paluszewski, a co-owner of V. Czapiga & Son. “It’s not a small town, but we’d like to give back because there’s always somebody else worse off than you are.”
State Rep. Emil “Buddy” Altobello is the recipient of the 28th Community Partnership Award. Altobello recently announced he was not seeking another term in the House after many years of service as state representative for Meriden and Middlefield.
“We have since learned since he was nominated and accepted the award, he will not be running again,” Ford said. “I think this is a very fitting recognition of just the years of service that he has given to the area.”
The 7th Annual Special Achievement in Innovation Award will be presented to the Meriden Farmers’ Market for its ability to adjust to change.
“The Meriden Farmers’ Market has had many different locations over the years,” Ford said. “They’ve had to move for a number of reasons …. It’s certainly a very positive piece of Meriden and it encompasses a lot, especially helping our community just be more healthy. It gives our whole city the opportunity between the months of July and October to go and get great produce and fruits and vegetables directly from the farm.”
Lastly, the 7th Annual Excellence in Education Award will be awarded to Miguel Cardona, state education commissioner. Cardona is a product of Meriden who served as a local teacher, principal and administrator before being named top educator for the state.
“I am appreciative of the Midstate Chamber for their consideration of me and I am proud to be a resident of Meriden,” Cardona said. “I think the fact that I got the award is really a reflection of how great the community is.”