Snow Couldn’t Dampen Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Annual Celebration

Recipients of the Bedford Chamber of Commerce's annual ___ Courtesy image
Recipients of the Bedford Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards pictured with BCoC leaders Courtesy image

Submitted by the Bedford Chamber of Commerce

Battling another winter snow storm, Chamber members gathered at the Doubletree Bedford Glen Hotel on Wednesday, February 19th for the Annual dinner celebration.

Guest speaker Hank Phillipi Ryan with Nathaniel K. Brown  Courtesy image
Guest speaker Hank Phillipi Ryan with Nathaniel K. Brown Courtesy image

Guest speaker, Hank Philippe Ryan, did not disappoint the ninety plus Chamber members who came out to hear her speak. Giving an upbeat account of her career, as well as her life’s philosophy, she proved that it’s never too late to change careers and follow your dreams. Our Executive Director, Maureen Sullivan, set the tone for the evening with a warm welcome and several jokes about Ms. Ryan’s book names, The Other Woman and The Wrong Girl.

President Adam Schwartz introduced and thanked the board of directors and gave a brief outline of the Chamber’s 2014 goals including: improve the health of the Chamber by increasing membership, expand member participation, and incorporate best practices. He also mentioned a desire to expand relationships with town officials and collaborate, influence, and advocate for changes.

The Chamber awards were presented to Summit Health & Fitness – Business of the Year, John Jamesapollos – Business Person of the Year, Mark Abrams – Outstanding Service to the Chamber, and Bennett Driscoll -Ray of Hope Winner. However, it was the Chamber’s Diversity award winner, Ann Guay, who brought the house down with her acceptance speech. Guay was recognized for her tireless volunteer efforts.

Guay has been providing assistance to families in transition at the Bedford Plaza Hotel since the spring of 2011. She has been the welcoming face of the Bedford community to these displaced families who are living at the hotel temporarily and not by personal choice.  Ann has been a tireless advocate for the rights of families currently without shelter, and she does what is needed to bring a sense of normalcy to their lives.  She provides this service by securing food staples, clothing, and adequate long-term shelter. She has educated the Bedford community both by example and by verbally welcoming diversity of all types, and she has made Bedford a better community.

Ms. Guay’s humble acceptance speech included a story about the children living in the hotel around Halloween.  Volunteers had secured thirty costumes, but when they arrived to distribute them, there were ninety children in need. Over the next 24 hours, the volunteers scurried all over town to secure more costumes and returned with them the next evening. Ms Guay noticed that the children were quite well behaved, unlike the chaos of the previous day.  When one of the teenage boys approached to thank her for the costumes, she asked him why everyone was so calm.  “Because you came back… most people don’t” he replied.

Guay left the podium to a standing ovation.

The annual dinner will air on Bedford TV beginning the week of March 10.


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