By TAYLOR HARTZ
The Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual dinner this week, where they inducted three new directors and honored several Southington residents for their work in community business.
President and CEO Art Secondo and former board director Tony Sheffy hosted the 80s themed evening, distributing individual awards and recognizing overall excellence in community commerce.
Joining the Chamber as new executive board officers are Edward Pockock III of J. Allen Lamb & Edward S. Pockock III Foundation, John Rivers of Webster Bank, and Niles Pierson of Paul Gregory’s Bistro. The three were chosen due to their dedication to community leadership, said Secondo.
The chamber brought the leadership of three other individuals into the spotlight as well.
The Business Person of the Year award was given to Ron Serafino of Serafino Pharmacy, Inc., which will celebrate its 60th year of business next year.
AJ Garstand of Six Point Wealth Advisors was surprised with the Volunteer of the Year award for his extensive contributions to the community.
Dan Prus, membership coordinator at the YMCA, accepted the Employee of the Year award as family and friends cheered loudly and waved posters in support.
Applause filled the Aqua Turf all night on Saturday, as several special recognitions were given to those whose excellence stood out in Southington this year. Five businesses received the Beautification Award, granted to those who enhance the scenery of Southington with pleasant storefronts.
Southington High School Coach Mike Drury received the second annual Samuel Woodruff Award for his record of 40 wins and 6 losses, and for bringing his team to back-to-back state championships.
Rep. David Zoni (D–Southington) presented Mary DeCroce with the Community Spirit Award. Zoni encouraged the crowd to think of DeCroce’s hard work each time they see the murals and artwork decorating the town.
“It’s been a long road, but nothing has ever been done by one person,” said DeCroce. “It takes a community.”
Secondo presented Gill Wade of Southington Security and Attorney Matt O’Keefe with the Chamber’s Presidential Awards for their involvement in the town.
“It’s a great place, a great community, a great group of people” said Wade of the honor.
Congratulations were given throughout the evening as guests costumed in side-ponytails, mullets, and lots of denim enjoyed a formal dinner and a series of inspiring speeches.
Southington DJ Jamie Brennan – dressed as Back to the Future icon Marty McFly – played decade hits like Billie Jean and Don’t You (Forget About Me) of The Breakfast Club fame to bring back the 80s, while giant Rubik’s Cubes, cardboard cut outs of era-actors, and arcade games decorated the hall.
A silent auction held throughout the evening was certainly Southington-themed. The Chamber raffled off everything from Southington sweatshirts, front row seats to Southington High School graduation and the summer music series donated by Town Council member Dawn Micele, and tickets to the upcoming Girls Night Out provided by the Chamber.
The Chamber, comprised of over 500 businesses, has served Southington for 75 years. Their active involvement in the local commerce was evident throughout the evening, as was the closeness of the community. Directors, honorees and guests alike showed no shortage of town pride.
Photos by Tammi Naudus