By SHERIDAN CYR
The Southington Chamber of Commerce has been supporting local businesses and enriching the community for 80 years, and invites locals to celebrate with them at the 80th Annual Dinner, “A Night of Excellence,” on April 26 at the Aqua Turf.
The Chamber will recognize outgoing Board of Directors, distinguish new board members and 2018-19 officers, honor Chamber Committee Chairs and give Chamber awards to several local people and businesses.
“It’s a night dedicated to bringing people together to celebrate, recognize, support and honor outstanding community leaders,” said executive director Taylor Crofton. “Our award winners this year are notably distinguished leaders in society, both people and businesses that have actively worked to connect, involve and add aesthetic value to our town and business culture.”
The Chamber announced the recipients for each of the annual awards, which will be presented at the banquet.
John Myers will receive the Riccio Brothers Business Person of the Year. Myers has been the executive director of the Southington YMCA since 1997, and he has announced his retirement later this year.
“I was blown away when I heard and am very appreciative of the chamber on this honor—an honor that needs to be shared with an incredible, talented and passionate group I staff, and volunteers I work with on a daily basis,” said Myers. “Being aligned with the chamber and the Riccio Brothers Award is very humbling and helps validate the efforts of our YMCA to help strengthen the foundation of our community.”
Susan Smayda will receive the Ann Hauver Employee of the Year award. Smayda has been the director of the Southington Public Library for 11 years, and she recently announced her retirement in June.
“It was very exciting to find out I had been chosen for the award,” Smayda said. “Knowing that I’m retiring soon makes the award special. It’s the icing on the cake.”
Susan Urillo Larson will be recognized as the Chamber Woman of the Year. Larson was the vice president of production at the Step Saver for 13 years before becoming the founder and owner of Perfect Type, LLC since 1999.
Dick Fortunato will be honored posthumously with the Gail DePaolo Community Spirit Award. Fortunato was a longtime local volunteer, activist, and journalist who died on Dec. 16, 2017.
Bread for Life, Crystal Bees, Chip’s Restaurant, Berkshire Hathaway, and the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72 will be honored with the beautification award for their efforts through remodeling and beautification.
“Since it’s our 80th year, we partnered with the Historical Society and have unearthed the original chamber members, four of which are still chamber organizations today,” Crofton said. “They will be given a special recognition at the dinner.”
The event will include a teacup raffle, a silent auction, a DJ and a small presentation to honor the 80-year history.
The event will start at 6 p.m. Tickets are $75. RSVP and purchase tickets online at www.southingtonchamber.