For 172 years, the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting has been a major event of the social calendar year. The event recognizes outstanding businesses and individuals who have made a considerable impact in the region, as well as highlight the many accomplishments of the Galveston Chamber.

‘Twas SRO as more than 500 individuals filled the Moody Gardens Hotel Spa and Convention Center for both networking and celebration. This year’s theme, “An Evening in Italy,” proved to be yet another popular event hosted by the Galveston Chamber of Commerce. Viva la Italia! Guests first enjoyed an extensive wine tasting with artisanal meat and cheese pairings that were true to the essence of Italy. The convivial scene took place in the setting of an Italian marketplace complete with fresh fruit, vegetables and local vendors. Maceo’s Spice & Import Company and Knapp Flower Shop were both present with their respective goods; Maceo’s famous marinara sauce and Knapp’s fresh and vibrant flowers. Other attractions included an accordionist, pizza throwing chef, human statue, Venetian guard, Italian street portrait artist and the Italian Tarantella Dancers of Galveston. After having strolled through the marketplace, guests were then seated and the formal program began.

Award categories and honorees included the 2017 Galvestonian of the Year: Wayne Faircloth and Christie Mitchell; Beachcomber Award: Victor Pierson; Hero of the Year: Ben Peterek; Texas Strong Heroes: Tena Lundquist Faust, Tama Lundquist, Raz Hallili and Brent Cockerham; Unsung Heroes: Michelle Beckwith and James MacAlpine; Board Members of the Year: Theresa Elliott, Allan Matthews and Maureen Patton; Presidents Award: Navigators; International Impact Award: BP, H. Rudy Teichman; Maritime Wheel of Excellence Award: J.W. Kelso; Medium/Large Business of the Year: CenterPoint Energy; Small Businesses of the Year: Benno’s, Fast Signs Galveston, Queens Barbecue, and Tina’s on The Strand; National Chain Business of the Year: Whataburger; Non-Profit of the Year: Salvation Army of Galveston and Victor Pierson; C-Crewe Award: Tom Schwenk; C-Crewe Member of the Year: Lindsey White; and Committee Member of the Year: Jennifer Goodman and Donna Lang.

The awards ceremony concluded with the induction of new board members and Dr. C.B. “Bix” Rathburn, 2017 chair of the board, passing the chamber wheel to the 2018 incoming chair, Fred D. Raschke.

Happy birthdays to Johnny Smecca, Andrea Guindon, Josie Van, Angela Brown, Darrell John, Peaches Kempner, Nanci Gobroski Freudenburg, Sybill Uretsky, Jeanette Trochesset Swafford, Mary Ann Stepp Taylor, Michelle Hatmaker, Ron Pogue, Barbara Hartley Huston, Jonathan Escalente, Richard Kirkpatrick. Dr. Gwen Richardson, Shannon Porter, George Murphy, Franklin “Rusty” Carnes, Lauraleigh Gourley, Jimmy Fullen, Scott Hansen and Annette Felts.

Frances Powell is a columnist for The Daily News. Send deets ’n’ pix of your parteez ’n’ proceedings to or call 409-744-6540.

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