COOLIDGE — On a crisp November evening some of the most prominent businesses and government officials in Coolidge and surrounding areas gathered to recognize community members who have made a considerable impact in the Coolidge area.
The Coolidge Chamber of Commerce held the annual awards banquet at the Artisan Village of Coolidge on Saturday. Each year, the banquet seeks to publicly celebrate organizations that have made an impact on the community in one form or another.
At the event, a special honor was presented to Mayor Jon Thompson, City Manager Rick Miller and Development Services Director Gilbert Lopez in recognition of the work they have done attracting major projects to the region such as Nikola Motor Company.
The award was presented to Thompson and Lopez by Pinal County Economic Development Program Manager Tim Kanavel. Miller was unable to be in attendance.
A new award, the Good Neighbor award, was also handed out at this year’s banquet. Recipients of the award were two leaders of the Better Human Coalition, Heather Holsinger and Renee Garling.
In addition, the evening recognized local businesses as Businesses of the Year. In the category of six employees or more, the winning business was Arizona Public Service. Saint Holdings was named the Business of the Year with five employees or less.
The Chamber also recognized Dreamline Motors, owned by Sandeep Khanna, as the Community Partner of the Year for its commitment to giving back. Likewise, Hospice of the Valley was named the Non-Profit Business of the Year.
Each year, the awards banquet seeks to give special recognition to community members who have made a difference through their work. This year, award recipients nominated by their employers for their exceptional performance on the job were:
- William Snyder, CAVIT Educator of the Year
- Angela Terry, CAVIT support staff award
- Christina Cooper, Coolidge Schools Educator of the Year
- Blasa Ornelas, Coolidge Schools support staff award
- Joanie Kronebusch, Imagine School Educator of the Year
- Ansley Duran, Imagine School support staff award
The “High 5” Youth Spirit Award, which is awarded to a Coolidge student for their positive attitude and dedication to helping others within their community, was given to Tazhon Speights.
The event also sought to raise funding for the Coolidge-Florence Elks Lodge’s Elks Feeding Little Empty Tummies program. EFLET seeks to provide weekend meals for students from low income families that may rely on the meals they receive at school as their only source of food.
The evening was made possible through the contributions of local businesses. Students from the Imagine Prep FFA program and volunteered to ensure the evening ran smoothly.