The ballroom at the Marco Island Hilton Beach Resort and Spa looked like a blizzard had blown through transforming it into a Winter Wonderland for the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce. Between the staff at the Hilton and the Chamber’s event committee, Tiffany Homuth and Sandi Sims, the evening was a dreamy white flurry of fun.
Dianna Dohm, Executive Director of the Chamber welcomed guests and turned the podium over to Dr. Rick Seigel, Chamber president. Dr. Seigel said he had the distinct honor of presenting the Business Recognition Award and he went on to describe a successful business on the island, an award that was meant to go to business that went above and beyond in their support of the Chamber and the community. The recipient had an A+ rating for over 25 years remodeling and building homes on the island. “His love for the Chamber is unsurpassed and he served two terms as the Chamber president, Alex Parker, AP Builders.” Dr. Seigel announced the recipient to roaring applause from the audience. Alex graciously accepted the award saying he wondered who the recipient would be this year, but hadn’t considered it would him. He accepted the award saying, “I am so honored. The Chamber on this island is so dear to my heart. We’ve come a long way; we’ve restructured, we’ve rebuilt, we’re strong, we’re growing. It is my honor and my privilege… you folks make this island what it is. My heart is overflowing.”
Next, Dr. Seigel announced two awards which held special significance for the Chamber, the Volunteer of the Year and the Citizen of the Year awards which this year were sponsored solely by the Chamber. “The recipients, who are chosen by the Chamber of Commerce, dedicated countless hours for the betterment of the community. Past volunteer of the year recipients helped choose this year’s recipient.”
Chamber of Commerce 2019 Volunteer of the Year
Dennis Pidherny was chosen as the Marco Island’s 2019 Volunteer of the Year. Dr. Seigel said, “He spent his entire Marco life volunteering. He doesn’t just volunteer his time, he takes on major leadership roles including, the Knights of Columbus, Meals of Hope, Past President and Secretary of the Kiwanis Club, board member and logistic coordinator of the American Cancer Society, director of Grace Place, past NCH Marco Campus Trustee and Finance director, CEO of Bedtime Bundles, director of Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival, YMCA Daily Bread Run, and is a past recipient of the Marco Island Civic Association Humanitarian of the Year award.” Dennis could not be in attendance while he was visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday. Dianna accepted the award on his behalf saying he was her volunteer “mentor.”
Chamber of Commerce 2019 Citizen of the Year
“This person is known to all of us,” announced Dr. Seigel. “There isn’t an event held on Marco Island that this person doesn’t donate support to make it a success. He is seen tirelessly working the Seafood Fest which raises money for the Kiwanis and two of the Rotary Club, he has spent ten years providing logistical support for the Meals of Hope, he and his team donate time to set up and maintain the island’s Christmas trees for Christmas Island Style and provided 800 cloth bags for Our Daily Bread and Al’s Pals weekly mobile food pantry and he spent a number of years as treasurer of the Sunrise Rotary and is currently Rotary’s president-elect for 2020. Need water? He is always there to provide service organizations with bottled water. He served as the Chamber president of 2018 and is still on the Executive Board now. As president he was always on top of our island’s government issues. His company is celebrating 50 years of service to Marco Island. He is the type of person that makes Marco Island the wonderful paradise it is through his unselfish and tireless efforts. And he does this without any fanfare. The Chamber of Commerce would like to award this year’s Citizen of the Year award to Erik Condee.” A rousing applause from the audience ensued. In accepting the award, Erik said, “Anyone who knows me knows I am a man of very few words. I only say something if I really have something to say. This is a great honor and I thank those past recipients for choosing me for this honor. I want to thank my parents for instilling the values that have taken me down this road because without them, I probably wouldn’t be the person that I am today. Many thanks and I sincerely appreciate it.”
After Alex Parker gave the invocation, dinner and dancing to the sounds of Bonfire followed. Adding to the festivities, a variety of tabletop Christmas trees were available to the highest bidder, there was a wine pull and a live auction for a two-night stay and four tickets to the Gaylord Palms and the ICE! The Polar Express. There was even a visit from Santa Claus and an elf. Yes, even the Grinch wanted in on a good time and showed his face to the Chamber party-goers!