APOLLO BEACH — The SouthShore Chamber of Commerce roared through its annual membership and awards banquet with a 1920s theme that saw Oxford and flapper-clad awardees ranging from the honorary mayor to the businesses of the year.
The night began with the passing of the gavel to the new chamber president, Joey Henderson of the Florida Home Partnership. It ended with Scott Kenny of Ohhh So Nifty earning the mayoral rights for 2016 after raising funds for the American Cancer Society.
Henderson also was named the 2015 volunteer of the year.
Optometrist Cathy Yaeckel of Optical Outfitters in Apollo Beach's MiraBay Village earned the 2015 New Member of the Year Rising Star award.
"I always heard patients complain about their last doctor and I wanted to make sure I did things my way and make sure I listen to everyone's needs," said Yaeckel, who recommends eye screening at all ages. "We do eye exams for the whole family. I'm amazed that people haven't gotten an eye exam until they're 40 or need reading glasses."
The business of the year awards were divided into two categories. Pita Kebob, a Mediterranean restaurant, won in the small business category while M&M Printing beat out Amazon and MiraBay in the large business category.
Kathy Wallin of K & B Travel took home ambassador of the year while Connie Lesko accepted the E.G. Simmons community service award.
"I'm so blessed to be part of this community," said Lesko, who gave special recognition to her husband, Michael. "He just follows around after me, picking up after me and supporting me and giving me money."
The chamber also posthumously honored former members Anne Madden and Jose Alvarez. The Alvarez family pledged to continue the annual award that recognizes the top male and female high school soccer player in Hillsborough County.
Contact Eric Vician at [email protected]