I attended my first Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce Holiday Gala last night and it was a huge success. It is so nice to go to an event where everyone dresses nicely in fine gowns for the ladies and suits or tuxes for the gentlemen. We have become such an informal society that my wife and I have often been the only ones at a party at someone’s house who are not wearing jeans. We have nothing against jeans, but when someone goes to the trouble of entertaining in their home, it just seems that the attendees could show them the respect of dressing up a little (at least beyond jeans). A gala like last night’s is a welcome return to a more dressy occasion.
The Chamber Gala was held at 59 West and this was our first time in their banquet facility – very impressed with it. The room was decorated nicely and there were servers wandering around with goodies to eat, as well as a table full of hors d’oeuvres. The coconut shrimp and chick were delicious. The live band added a nice touch.
Two groups were doing fund raising at the event – the Huron Valley Council for the Arts (HVCA) and the Carl’s Family YMCA. The HVCA sold tickets for what was characterized as a “Chinese auction” in which tickets are placed in a bag and one will be drawn from each bag next week at the HVCA Winter Pops concert. The YMCA had a silent auction set up on tables at one end of the room, with lots of interesting things to bid upon. Unfortunately my bids did not hold up.
The main event of the gala was the presentation of the awards to the people chosen for various honors from the Chamber for 2013. I was fortunate enough o be chosen the 2014 Ambassador of the Year. I belong to a group of about 24 Chamber members who are called Ambassadors. We go to all of the events that the Chamber runs – Coffee Club meetings, ribbon cutting ceremonies, Off-the-clock evening events and the rest of the big events like the Easter Egg Hunt, the Milford Memories Summer Festival and the Crazy Putt-Putt event at the end of summer. Our role as Ambassadors is part host and part matchmaker. We serve as greeters for other Chamber members as they arrive and to try to make sure that no one goes un-introduced to the group, especially if they are a new member. I go to as many events as I can as an Ambassador.
The other awards were for the Chamber Volunteer of the Year, won by Gordon Muir, who runs the annual Chamber Golf Outing and volunteers for many other events; the Milford Memories Volunteer of the Year – this year shared by Todd Hibberd and Dave Janette (the Beer Tent guys) , the Business of the Year, which 2 Moms & a Mop, Owned and run by Kim Galbraith, and the Citizen of the Year, won by Dale Feigley, long time Milford resident and community activist who serves as President of the Milford DDA and on many boards and volunteer committees in both Milford and Highland Townships.
A central theme that resonated through the acceptance speeches given by the award recipients was what a great community the Milford area is to live in and what a great job the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce is doing, especially the local Chamber staff. There are no other Chambers in this area that are more active and as well supported in the community than the Huron Valley Chamber. I’m proud to be qa member and proud to be able to represent it as a Chamber Ambassador. I’m looking forward to a year full of events and opportunities to serve in 2014.