Part of the evening was bittersweet as members and guests bid farewell to outgoing Chamber President Kevin Donlan who has moved to Alabama. His affection for Marco Island was demonstrated not only by his return just for the event, but also by his emotional farewell remarks. He spoke movingly about the Island and the many friends he misses. Like General MacArthur he vows, “I shall return”. Islanders hope it will happen.
There were some highlights during the celebration. For the first time the Chamber’s Executive Committee will consist entirely of women: incoming President Nancy Carrington, Joyce McFarland, Jacquie Koon, Desiree Buhelos, Kristi Willems and Sandi Riedemann. Audience members showed their appreciation for the contributions of this remarkable group, not only to the business sector, but also to the island’s civic and governmental activities.
City Council Chairman Joe Batte swore in the 2013 Board of Directors and delivered gracious remarks about the importance of Marco Island businesses and theChamber of Commerce, and urging the Chamber to continue working closely with city government in the interest of residents and visitors. The 2013 Board of Directors includes: Alan Brown, Tiffany Homuth, Pat Neale, Rick Popoff, Wayne Rose, Bruce Gear, David Hyatt Alex parker, Mary Quinton, Jada Shigley, Richard Shanahan, (no relation) Dick Shanahan and Valerie Simon.
The celebration also featured the Class of 2012 Leadership Marco Graduation. Graduates are: Maggie Campo, Erik Condee, Debi DeBenedetto, County Commissioner Donna Fiala, Linda Flores, Bruce Gear, Darcie Guerin, Angelia Harris, Rebecca Hodge, Joe Irwin, Curt Koon, Marcia Mandel, Carole Roberts, Bruce Robertson, Sandi Simms and Ken Warriner.
In her closing remarks, incoming president Nancy Carrington spoke of her early years “up north” and her delight at discovering and settling in Marco Island where she owns and operates Marco Island Flowers and Gifts. She thanked Chamber members for their devotion to Marco Island, and praised the Chamber’s three professionals, Sandi Riedemann, Katie O’Hara and Donna Niemczyk, as well as the many outstanding volunteers who cheerfully welcome and assist islanders and visitors.
The evening was completed by ongoing live music provided by Wendy Renee & Co. Ms. Renee is not only superbly talented; she is also tireless and completely charming.