In a departure from the usual annual event, the Warwick Valley Country Club was transformed into a TV studio for the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce 78th membership celebration held on Saturday evening, Nov. 18.
The reason for the change was that the highlight of the evening would be a copy of the popular game show, Jeopardy, renamed “Let’s Ask Warwick,” with Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton serving as emcee.
Shortly after the cocktail hour, Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Johndrow welcomed the members of what he described as “the biggest little chamber in Orange County.”
He reported that at this time the chamber has 523 members, of which 82 joined in 2017.
Johndrow also stated that this year the organization held 54 ribbon-cuttings for grand openings and anniversaries and that its website had received, on average, 10,000 hits per month.
He then thanked and introduced the sponsors before reading a long list of annual awards that the chamber would present that evening to its most outstanding members for their accomplishments. He also introduced and praised Sweeton and Mayor Michael Newhard for the success of the chamber and the business community.
Outgoing Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce President Mechelle Casciotta then spoke and praised her Board of Trustees, committee members, Johndrow and his staff.
Surprise awards were also presented including one to longtime Chamber Office Manager Sarah Armand.
In a touching moment at the conclusion of the awards presentation, a recognition of the late Debbie Iurato for her Commitment to Community, her friend Mary Beth Schlichting, who partnered with her in organizing Home for the Holidays, said, “When you hear children laughing, carolers singing, and the clip-clop of the horses, you will know that Debbie’s love is all around us.”
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