Hudson Chamber celebrates its 2017
Hudson community members gathered in person, and remotely, for the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Thursday, Jan. 25 at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course.
Each year the event distributes five awards for 2017 — Large Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Chamber Member of the Year, Community Volunteer of the Year and the prestigious Marie Blakeman award.
This year Ciranda was recognized as the Large Business of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding achievements of businesses with more than 20 full-time employees.
A supplier of organic, non-GMO, free trade ingredients, Ciranda was originally owned by Han and Joan Friese. The two recently sold their share of the company to its employees. The Frieses are still involved in the business, and hope the sale will allow the same values to continue when they are no longer involved.
Coco's Heart Dog Rescue received the Small Business of the Year award. This honors small businesses with one to 20 full-time employees for their achievements. Hudson Chamber of Commerce President Blake Fry said these small businesses are "the heart and fabric of our community."
Coco's Heart is a foster-based rescue that has found homes for more than 4,500 since it started in May 2010. Owner Ashley Kurtz thanked her staff as well as Angel Duratti of Angel's Pet World for their work and support.
Chamber Member of the Year for 2017 was Tom Bordenave for his help preparing for Chamber events. On vacation in Florida, Bordenave was not present for the banquet, but he expressed his gratitude through a letter. He wrote of his love for Hudson, and the genuineness of the people who live here.
Chris Mick was honored as this year's Community Volunteer of the Year. Mick is the founder of Space St. Croix, a program that teaches kids about space through school visits and community programming. Growing up near NASA's Ames Center in California, Mick had plenty of opportunity to become fascinated with space, and wanted to give Hudson students that same chance. He runs the program on his own, searching out grants to fund it over the last three years.
The final award for the night was the Marie Blakeman award, which honors a community member who shows the same leadership and service as the namesake Marie Blakeman. Normally an unsuspecting guest of the banquet is named the winner. This year, winner Alan Burchill was surprised over a video phone call while at a dinner with family and friends in Florida.
Burchill spent nine years in city government, first as a city council member and then as mayor. He is a long-standing business member in the community, working in banking, insurance and owning office buildings in Hudson.
"It's a great place to live and a great place to raise a family," Burchill said over the phone.
Marie Blakeman was a big promoter of Hudson, and Burchill said he was thankful to received the award named after her.
"This is quite an honor and a surprise," he said.