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    The Gaylord Area Chamber of Commerce invites you to attend the Annual Award Banquet on February 22, 2023. This event aims to recognize excellence in our community. Chamber Members nominate and vote for fellow Chamber Members to acknowledge outstanding achievements in 2023. Award categories include the "You Made It Happen" Award, the "Bell Tower" Award, the "Golden Pineapple" Award, and the "Daune Weiss Memorial - Business Person of the Year" Award. Other special acknowledgements include the Introduction of the Chairperson, Chairperson of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, and the Volunteer of the YearView the Annual Awards Recipient History below.

    Registration for this event is required for food preparation purposes. The deadline to register is 4PM on Friday, February 9, 2022. Tickets are $45 each and include dinner with choice of Pot Roast, Chicken Picatta, or Vegetarian Penna Pasta Primavera. 

    Sponsorship opportunities for the Annual Awards Banquet are available. Contact Marketing & Event Specialist, Sarah Harding to learn more. Sarah@GaylordChamber.com or 989-732-6333. 






  • You Made It Happen Award

    Given to a person, business, or organization that, through exceptional contributions and/or commitment, positively affected growth of the Gaylord Community over the past year. 

    • Dawn Marie Strehl, Health Department of Northwest Michigan: "Dawn Marie Strehl with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan because she has advocated so hard to provide children in our community with access to dental care. This year, thanks in large part to her efforts, the legislature has provided funding for sealants for children in our communities. This is a major milestone for preventing disease and decay. Dawn Marie is on the front lines sealing teeth and keeping our kids healthy! She is very passionate about what she does and helping our communities."

    • Jordan Awrey, Awrey Films: “Jordan Awrey for developing the Downtown Music Series, coordinating the musical talent, executing the marketing for the summerlong event, and for promoting traffic to the downtown area. Jordan’s efforts created an occasion for the community to gather, but also an opportunity to promote local businesses.”

    • Room Redux Northern Michigan: "Room Redux Northern Michigan. Since December of 2021 they have provided 7 children that have faced abuse in Otsego County with healing Room Transformations.”

    Gordon G. Everett - Bell Tower Award 

    Recognizing new construction and/or renovation projects that best exemplify investment in Otsego County with consideration of maintaining the Alpine spirit and theme.

    • M32 Enterprises: “M32 Enterprises for continuing to invest in the community with new facilities and bringing customers to the area.”

    • Comfort Inn & Suites and MainStay Suites: “The Comfort Inn & MainStay Suites is an excellent addition to support the growing tourism economy in our community. Their use of the Alpine theme is noticed right off I-75 and gives visitors a warm welcome to Gaylord.”

    • Green Arrow Dispensary of Gaylord: “Green Arrow, for revamping the old Ponderosa into a beautiful building.”

    Golden Pineapple Award

    Honoring a member of the Chamber of Commerce for their exceptional customer service.

    • Shawn & Cathy Smalley, Big Buck Brewery: “Shawn and Cathy Smalley and their staff at Big Buck Brewery give consistent, exceptional customer service to their guests. During our extremely busy summer, you would see Shawn and Cathy clearing tables alongside their employees, assisting wherever needed. The staff is friendly even when busy, and the environment always feels positive. Leading by example seems to be their business model and it fosters a healthy workplace and dining experience.”

    • Collin Wilson, Comfort Inn & Suites and MainStay Suites: “Collin’s infectious personality and customer service is a great introduction to Gaylord for guests staying at the Comfort Inn.” 

    • Christy Walcott, Gaylord Area Convention & Tourism Bureau: “Christy Walcott for having a warm greeting for every visitor touring gaylord. Regardless of her workload, Christy greets every visitor with a smile and delivers a positive experience.”

    Daune Weiss Memorial - Business Person of the Year Award

     Given to a business owner or manager who best exemplifies Daune Weiss' generosity in giving time, money, staff and/or facilities for community benefit. 

    • Mark Copeland, Jay’s Sporting Goods “Mark Copeland with Jay’s Sporting Goods. His presentation addressing how employees need to trust one another and understanding the personalities of others to build that trust has taken off. Thanks to the presentation he did with the chamber, other businesses have called asking for him and Tim Croll to speak and share that information with others in the community. The more people who hear it, the stronger our community becomes and can work together to accomplish more.”

    • Celeste Feole, Celeste Lovely Photography “Celeste from Celeste Lovely Photography. She does so much for the community!” 

    • Scott Sanders, Preston Feather Building Centers: “Scott Sanders of Preston Feather, Gaylord. Besides being an amazing boss, Scott’s generosity goes above and beyond for this community. He volunteers his time and allows employees to volunteer during work hours. He not only allows me to participate in Chamber events during work hours as an Ambassador, he encourages it. The list of sponsorships and donations he has provided this community is amazing, including an accumulative amount $13,118 for 22 causes in the Gaylord area.

  • Annual Award Recipient History


    You Made It Happen Award: Given to a person, business, or organization that, through exceptional contributions and/or commitment, positively affected growth of the Gaylord Community over the past year. 

    1983 - Five Recipients 

    Dave Engel for the FAA Flight Service Station

    Susan Bensinger for the United Way fundraising

    Pat Duffy for the Special Olympics fundraising

    Harriet Burns for doing vacation shows for the Chamber

    Jim Grisso for creating the Burgermeister Award

    1984 - Two Recipients 

    Carol DeGroot for the Chamber’s Council program

    Don Morgridge for the street sweeping contest

    1985 - Two Recipients      

    Otsego Memorial Hospital

    Dianne McNamara for the Women’s Rotary tree lighting project

    1986 - Three Recipients

    Mary O’Neill for the Gaylord Area Council for the Arts

    Ann & Theresa Jaruzel for the Mt. Carmel Center

    Tom Arthurs for the North Central Michigan Home Builders Association

    1987 - Gaylord Convention & Tourism Bureau

    1988 - Edelweiss Garden Club for the city landscaping and flower planting

    1989 - Three Recipients 

    Gaylord Rotary Club

    Otsego County Ambulance Service

    Otsego County Fair Board

    1990 - Glen A. Catt for sponsorship of the Gus Macker Tourney

    1991 - Debbie Collins for organizing the GHS Graduation Party

    1992 - Three Recipients        

    Alpine Snowmobile Trails, Inc for their trail grooming efforts

    Bob McNamara for his volunteerism for the Gus Macker

    WMJZ for their support of community activities

    1993 - Two Recipients     

    Howard Cheney for the Kiwanis Club Christmas Basket Program

    Chuck Klee for his volunteerism for the Gus Macker Tourney

    1994 - Four Recipients        

    Sharon Grendel for the Otsego County Hockey Association

    Rick Miller for the Alpine Youth Soccer

    Jan Cotant for the Freebies Hut

    Dick Weber for the Sportsplex Committee

    1995 - Gaylord Downtown Development Authority

    1996 - Sheila Fruehauf for the Energy Outlet playground

    1997 - Ken Mudget for Otsego Lake State Park’s Handicap Ramp

    1998 - Keith Lester for the TIC for the Otsego County Fire Department

    1999 - Jack Thompson for his advocacy for the University Center and M-TEC

    2000 - Forcier Family for their generosity to the community

    2001 - Jerry Coger for the Food Pantry

    2002 - Sandy Gartelman for the Kids in Theater Program

    2003 - OWLS and the Rotary Club for the Environmental Learning Center

    2004 - Two Recipients 

    Otsego Memorial Hospital “Family” for leadership in capital campaign

    Gaylord Area Snowmobile Trails Council

    2005 - Volunteer Center’s Road To Recovery Program

    2006 - Otsego County Economic Alliance

    2007 - Edelweiss Garden Club

    2008 - Glen Catt for Big Ticket Festival

    2009 - I-75 Crossing Task Force

    2010 - “Wings Over Gaylord” & Catt Family for the Fourth Grader Swimming Program

    2011 - Dave Baragrey Sr. for Bear Basketball Program

    2012 - Groen Nature Reserve

    2013 - Alpenfrost

    2014 - Ken Mattei, Special Olympics Michigan/Wertz Warriors

    2015 - Al Blackburn, Meijer

    2016 - Jennifer Akans of ComForCare, for the Veteran’s Luncheon held in November

    2017 - Laura Hansmann for the new Tennis Courts on behalf of the Alpine Regional Tennis Association

    2018 - Shari Rivest & Matt Barresi

    2019 - Rachel Frisch – Otsego County

    2020 - Otsego County United Way & Food Pantry

    2021 - Karing Home Youth Project


    Gordon G. Everett - Bell Tower Award: Recognizing new construction and/or renovation projects that best exemplify investment in Otsego County with consideration of maintaining the Alpine spirit and theme.

    1998 - Gaylord Ford

    1999 - Wade Trim

    2000 - Otsego Club

    2001 - Saks Wellness Center & JoJo’s Market

    2002 - Catt Development

    2003 - DDA’s Pavilion on Court

    2004 - North Central Construction Inc. Northwestern Bank and Edelweiss Properties LLC

    2005 - Alpine Chiropractic Clinic

    2006 - Independent Bank, Spicy Bob’s Italian Express

    2007 - Alpine Oven, Ace Hardware

    2008 - City Hall & Otsego County Airport

    2009 - Alpine Chocolat Haus, Hogan’s Jewelers

    2010 - Diana’s Delights and Hobby Lobby

    2011 - Seams Like New

    2012 - Otsego County Animal Shelter

    2013 - Alpine Tavern & Eatery

    2014 - Awakon Federal Credit Union

    2015 - Jay’s Sporting Goods

    2016 - Dr. Kristine Bobish, Alpine Cardiology

    2017 - Scott & Janice Lampert

    2018 - Pine Squirrel

    2019 - Otsego County Library

    2020 - Munson Healthcare Otsego Memorial Hospital

    2021 - Otsego County, Gaylord Gateway Trailhead


    Golden Pineapple Award: Honoring a member of the Chamber of Commerce for their exceptional customer service.

    1998 - Mr. Coots

    1999 - Sue's Shop and the Spud Warehouse

    2000 - Saturn Booksellers

    2001 - Alphorn Shop

    2002 - La Senorita Restaurant

    2003 - Extreme Power Sports

    2004 - Glenda's Gifts

    2005 - Hogan's Jewelers

    2006 - Hall Veterinary Clinic

    2007 - Dunn's Business Solutions and Jan's Northside Deli

    2008 - Telephone Support Systems and Bradley J. Butcher & Associates

    2009 - Nelson Funeral Home

    2010 - Arrow Sanitation

    2011 - New Century Signs

    2012 - Thrifty Print & North Western Bank 

    2013 - Janie Rhein, Winn Telecom

    2014 - Isabella's Copper Pot

    2015 - Joe Messenger, Gaylord Community Funeral Home & Cremation Service

    2016 - Bennethum's Northern Inn

    2017 - Otsego Grand Event Center

    2018 - Bill Marsh Ford

    2019 - Susie Marshall, the University Center

    2020 - Michelle & Casey Buckleitner, White Birch Outfitters

    2021 - Alpine Chocolat Haus


    Daune Weiss Memorial - Business Person of the Year Award: Given to a business owner or manager who best exemplifies Daune Weiss' generosity in giving time, money, staff and/or facilities for community benefit. 

    2000 - Daune Weiss

    2001 - John Kluck

    2002 - Bruce Brown

    2003 - Scott Lampert

    2004 - Pastor Jim Mathis

    2005 - Rosemary Smith

    2006 - Betty Moore

    2007 - Larry Edwards

    2008 - Kevin Drummond

    2009 - Stanley Dombrowski

    2010 - In Memory of Gene Sanders

    2011 - Kevin McKinley

    2012 - Jack Thompson

    2013 - Patt Dobrzelweski

    2014 - Todd Chawtun, Michaywe

    2015 - Bobby McNamara, McNamara Insurance

    2016 - Theresa McNamara, Dunn's Business Solutions

    2017 - Marcia Taylor, Marsh-Mellow Entertainment

    2018 - Angielena Muellenberg, Snowbelt Brewing Company

    2019 - Ryan Wojan, Smith Realty Group

    2020 - Dana Bensinger, Otsego Community Foundation

    2021 - Mike Perdue, Smith Realty Group



  • History of Other Special Acknowledgements 

    Chairperson's Award: Recognized by the Chairman of the Gaylord Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, this award recognizes a committee member for going above and beyond in their role as a Chamber volunteer. 

    2018 - Dana Bensinger, Otsego Community Foundation

    2019 - Tom & Waneta Cook, Cook Family Farms

    2020 - Mike Cwik, Kiwanis Club of Gaylord

    2021 - Heather Appold, Munson Health Care Foundation


    Ambassador of the Year Award: Selected by the Ambassadors in a vote, this award recognizes an Ambassador of the Chamber of Commerce for going above and beyond in their role as a Chamber volunteer. 

    2018 - Kurt Felts, the Herald Times

    2019 - Mary Bickley, PMP Staffing

    2020 - Kari Jo Stefanski, Karing Home Youth Project / Feeny Ford Grayling

    2021 - Amanda Apitz, State Savings Bank


    Patti Dobrzelewki Volunteer of the Year Award: Recognizing a community leader who donates their time to Chamber activities and events.

    2018 - Leanna Suchey, ServPro

    2019 - Karin Beyer, Otsego Community Foundation

    2020 - Linda Durant, The Holistic Spa

    2021 - Eileen Tussey, Fairfield Inn & Suites

  • Thank You to Our Sponsors!



    Presenting Sponsors

  • Great Gatsby Presenting Sponsor!
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