SOUTHINGTON —Business owners, city officials and community members gathered at the Aqua Turf Club on Saturday evening to help the Midstate Chamber of Commerce celebrate its 125th anniversary.
“We are a business membership organization that prides itself on our work including advocacy, promotion, networking and education.” said Roseanne Ford, president of the Midstate Chamber of Commerce. “We do it all for you, our members."
Along with celebrating the milestone, the chamber honored local businesses and organizations for leadership during the pandemic with the Leadership Heroes Award. Because the banquet was canceled last year, recipients of 2020 chamber awards were also recognized Saturday.
The 2021 COVID-19 Leadership Heroes Award winners were: Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, MidState Medical Center, Community Health Center, Meriden Health & Human Services Department, United Way of Meriden & Wallingford, B.C. Bailey Funeral Home, Beecher & Bennett Funeral Service, John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home, and Meriden Memorial Funeral Home.
Mayor Kevin Scarpati praised Meriden Health Director Lea Crown and her staff.
“In eighteen months, Lea Crown has only taken one week off,” Scarpati said as he accepted the award on Crown’s behalf. “Members of the City Council can attest to the great work and heroism of our Health and Human Service Department.”
Meriden native Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education, was awarded the Excellence in Education Award. He also served as state education commissioner and was a teacher and administrator for Meriden Public Schools.
“Those that know me, know that there are very few things that will pull me away from my family” he said. “But serving the children of this country is one of them."
The 2020 awardees included the Meriden Farmers Market, former State Rep. Emil “Buddy” Altobello, V. Czapiga & Son, the Aqua Turf club and the Russell Hall Company.
Ford also celebrated 20 years with the chamber in 2021. The milestone was celebrated with a montage of congratulations videos from colleagues and a standing ovation from the more than 300 gathered.
After the program, people moved to the dance floor to continue the celebration.
“What’s next you ask?,” Ford said. “You can expect a vibrant, energetic chamber that continues to convene, collaborate, advocate, promote, educate and connect for another 125 years.”