SOUTHINGTON — Business leaders gathered for raffles, a silent auction and awards at the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce annual dinner Thursday evening.
The chamber's 80th annual dinner took place at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville.
Dick Fortunato received the chamber’s Gail DePaolo community spirit award. Fortunato, a writer, volunteer and regular at town functions, died in December at the age of 88.
Dave Pestillo, a former chamber board member, said Fortunato dedicated his time to a host of local organizations and was a man of faith who loved his family, church and community.
“We are all blessed to have known Dick,” Pestillo said. “Truly we have lost a champion for our Southington community.”
The chamber chose Sue Smayda, Southington library director, as the Ann Hauver employee of the year. Smayda plans to retire this summer, but chamber officials said it’s a “happy coincidence” that she was honored Thursday night.
Dawn Miceli, vice chairwoman of the Town Council, described Smayda as a “forward thinker, a warrior and a trailblazer for the good,” who helped get grant money for the library and museum, advocated for the arts and advanced the library’s technology.
“It’s timely to honor her years of service to our town and the greater community,” Miceli said. “For more than a decade, Sue has been the keeper of our community’s greatest treasure.”
Smayda said she was honored to be given the award and that the library and museum’s work is possible because of dedicated employees.
Susan Urillo Larson of Perfect Type LLC won the chamber woman of the year award.
Amanda Roberts, chamber executive board director at large and last year’s woman of the year recipient, said Larson has helped with many chamber events as well as the invitations for Thursday night’s event.
“How many committees is she on? Too many to count,” said Taylor Crofton, chamber executive director.
John Myers, YMCA executive director, received the Riccio Brothers businessperson of the year award. Myers plans to retire at the end of 2018 after three decades leading the town’s YMCA.
The chamber also gave out beautification awards to businesses that had made improvements. Those businesses were American Legion Kiltonic Post 72, Berkshire Hathaway, Bread for Life, Chip’s Restaurant and Crystal Bees.