St. Cloud Chamber celebrates businesses and life-long members at annual gala

Saturday, the St.Cloud Chamber of Commerce held its annual Gala event, with this year’s theme, Discovering the Gems of St. Cloud.

At the annual event, the Chamber welcomes its newest chair of the Board of Directors, for which the man receiving the esteemed gavel is noteworthy. Young entrepreneur LaVell Monger becomes the youngest, and first African American, board chair. County Commissioner Ricky Booth read in a proclamation declaring Sept. 16, 2023 as LaVell Monger Day.

The Chamber also gives its annual awards, honoring people and businesses throughout the Chamber membership through a voting poll from the community.

From the Osceola News-Gazette, Owner Rochelle Stidham was named the Business Champion of the Year, and longtime Chamber member and Sales Associate Jaime Sousse was named Ambassador of the Year, for his role assisting and welcoming new Chamber members..

“It’s exciting,” said Sousse, who was previously named the Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year in 2021. “I’ve been an Ambassador for three years. It is special.”

Stidham has been the News-Gazette’s owner since 2019.

“It is a great privilege to be recognized for the newspaper and the contributions we make in and around Osceola County,” Stidham said. “But I must share this with my team; it couldn’t happen without them. I am humbled and honored to be voted Business Champion by the community of St. Cloud.”

Outgoing chair Robb Larson of Osceola Heritage Park gave out one of the other numerous awards, the Chairman’s Award, reserved for outgoing Chair to honor someone who significantly served during their year, bestowing it on none other than Chamber President Dirk Webb.

“Whenever you see a need in the community, you try to fill it.” Webb said. “If someone needs a connection or education, the best thing we do is provide that.”

The Board of Directors also elected Joe Reilly of OUC as its Incoming Chair.  Reilly becomes the Board Chair in October of 2024.  In addition, Lisa Bertossa, of Keystone Residential Group was named First Vice-Chair assuming the lead board role in 2025. 

New Board Members selected for a three-year term include – Casey Baker, Land Title Professionals, Cindy Campbell, Ford Insurance, Howard Chanin, Butler Mortgage, Bridget Jackson, Key Life Fitness and Shannon Rios, AdventHealth.  The new Directors’ terms begin October 1.

Newly appointed directors for a one-year Affiliate term include, Dr. Yolanda McGriff, Valencia Community College, Troy Groves, Osceola Magic and Chris Montoya, SouthState Bank.

Committee Chairs include Dana Wells, St. Cloud Levee Liquor (Economic Development), Camille Levee (Membership), and Samantha Giel, Education Foundation of Osceola County, (Education).

During the event, which also included a a wonderful posthumus tribute to community member Betty Medema, these other awards were given out:

See more photos on Page 8.

40-Year Celebration Award: Osceola School of the Arts and the Osceola Council on Aging

President’s Award: Paty Wright, St.Cloud Chamber former CEO

Beacon Award: (One who serves the community in a special way) Tommy Tompkins

New Business of the Year: Pop’s Waffle and Ice Cream Shoppe

Small Business of the Year: Hensel, Bailey and Harris, P.A.

Large Business of the Year: Osceola Utilities Company

Business Person of the Year: Esma Dennis, Embrace Families

Business of the Year: Toho Riverboat Adventures

“I loved all the hidden gems tonight,” Melissa Vallejo, Senior Manager of Experience Kissimmee, said. “As a board member, it’s beautiful to see everything come together and to showcase it.” The St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce gathered Saturday at Osceola Heritage Park for its Annual Gala, a time to recognize businesses who go above and beyond to help and be a part of the local community and economy. Over a dozen awards were handed out as recognition.

At Saturday’s event, a new Chairman of the Board was initiated. LaVell Monger becomes the youngest and first African American to hold the hallowed gavel.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

Get Insightful, Cutting-Edge, Black Content Daily - Join "The Neo Jim Crow" Newsletter!

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.

This post was originally published on this site