CRISFIELD — The Crisfield Area Chamber of Commerce recognized its volunteers and local business leaders who worked to improve their city for both residents and visitors during what was a pandemic year.
For the first time since February 2020 the organization this month held an awards program at the American Legion Post 16. Immediate Past President Josh Nordstrom looked around the room and pointed out those who made the chamber tick, whether they be event chairs, officers, or someone who saw a need and stepped up to fill it.
“You were all out there...pulling in the same direction....and when you finally take a breath everybody’s proud of the things that we have done,” he said.
President Stevie Ritchey presented Mr. Nordstrom the past president’s plaque.
Ms. Ritchey also presented Danny Thompson the Extra Mile award. Not only does he co-chair the Crab & Clam Bake with Scott Tawes, but she said he does so much more behind the scenes. Accompanying the award were Senate and House resolutions from Sen. Mary Beth Carozza and Del. Charles Otto, and a citation from Gov. Larry Hogan.
Mr. Thompson is also a past president who said he learned a lot from former leaders like Harry T. Phoebus Jr. and Charles McClenahan. He humbly accepted the award, adding that while the chamber may ebb and flow, members “can’t sit back and complain.”
Last year Music on the Annemessex was held for the first time, and Mr. Thompson said the committee worked so well together putting on a stellar event that it will be expanded to three concerts this year.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic some took a chance to revitalize or start a new business. Board member Caitlin Kilby announced that Rodeway Inn and Butler Farms were recipients of the Most Improved Business award.
New Business awards went to Downtown Sneaks — which is relocating from lower West Main Street to Crisfield Plaza by Food Lion — and Lady Grace Bed & Breakfast.
The Non-Profit of the Year award went to the Crisfield Lioness Lions Club.
Buddy Ward, who chaired Crab Derby and Boat Docking, was presented the Outstanding Event Organizer award. Ms. Kilby said Mr. Ward “is more than just an organizer” he’s “everybody’s best friend.” Mr. Ward is not only personally onsite during events he is often actively involved — plus he brings his own equipment.
Mr. Ward thanked everyone for the recognition, but said, “It’s easy to do something you love, and I do it for the people that I love, and the town that I love. I love what I do.”
He said he couldn’t do it “without the support of everybody.”
Incoming board members for 2022 include Bill Meyer, and two previous board members Billie Jo Chandler and Karen Riggin. New ex-officio members are Kate Finucan representing the city, and Casey Goldsborough representing the Tawes Museum.
Other officers include First Vice President Hitesh Patel, Second Vice President LeeAnn Linton, Treasurer Linda Singh, and Secretary Tina Butler.
Although not at the ceremony Mr. Nordstrom announced that former president and long-time board member Bill Buttrill would be receiving a Years of Service award. Present for most every event and meeting, his experience and knowledge have been very much appreciated.
Speakers included Mayor Barry Dize, who said the city and chamber haven’t always been on the same page but the relationship has become much better in the last few years. And County Commissioner Randy Laird said the public doesn’t realize the number of hours chamber members put in for the betterment of Crisfield.
Mr. Laird said he was proud to have worked with the chamber on keeping the county’s visitors center downtown when there was a plan to relocate it to the new library. He said the arrangement continues to work well with the county providing the funding for a site that the chamber staffs and manages.
On April 6 at 6 p.m. the first planning meeting for the 75th National Hard Crab Derby. This year the chamber is employing the services of regional event planner Tiffany Wyatt. The meeting will be held at the Somers Cove Marina office, for more information or to volunteer call 410-968-2500.