The Flagler County Chamber of Commerce & Affiliates recognized its members of the year and installed new officers Friday, Jan. 19, at the Hammock Resort.
Rebecca DeLorenzo had kept the secret for a month. To kick off the festivities, the executive vice president of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce & Affiliates announced the surprise beginning to the Chinese New Year-themed event.
With that, the Lion Dance began, performed by Pak’s Karate, and the red-and-orange puppet whirled through the ballroom Friday, Jan. 19, at the Hammock Resort ballroom.
After that presentation, Patrick Kelly, who was last year’s chair, led the presentation of awards.
The Golden Lion Café was selected as the Flagler Beach member of the year. ACE Hardware was selected from Bunnell and Pop-A-Lock from Palm Coast.
Mike Kelley and Donald O’Brien were recognized for being members for 29 years, with Hayward Brown Insurance. Gary Wheeler, of The Business Center, has been a member for 30 years.
Barbara Revels was recognized as the longest-standing member; Coquina Real Estate and Construction has been a member for 37 years.
After the new officers for the affiliates were installed, Flagler County Judge Sharon B. Atack installed the new chair of the chamber: Lea Stokes.
In her speech, Stokes said the chamber will take a more active role in the local economy.
“Economic development is not political; it’s about survival,” she said.
She also said members of the chamber will be at every government meeting to advocate the cause of Flagler County businesses.
“It is our responsibility to be an active partner, ensuring all players are at the table and that they work together to achieve the desired results,” she said.