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Hudson Chamber celebrates its 2017

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Tom Bordenave, left, receives his award for 2017 Chamber Member of the Year ahead of the awards banquet. Bordenave was in Florida during the meeting, but sent a letter with his gratitude for the award. Photo courtesy of Hudson Chamber of Commerce2 / 8
Chamber Board Director Amy Fast, right, receives a present in recognition of her three-year term. Fellow director Nick Vivian also received a gift. 3 / 8
Hudson Chamber of Commerce President Blake Fry welcomes attendees to the Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Thursday, Jan. 25 at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course. The event honors chamber and community members with awards for businesses, chamber member and community volunteer of the year as well as the Marie Blakeman award. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 8
Ciranda, a supplier of organic, fair trade ingredients, was recognized as the 2017 Large Business of the Year. Staff and owners pictured are (from left, front row) Joan Friese and Kimberly Roebbeke, and back row, Joe Rouleau, Megan Lee, Karen Brabec, Hegan Hoveland, Pat Warren and David Merriweather. 5 / 8
Chris Mick shows the plaque he received for being named the 2017 Community Volunteer of the Year. Mick runs Space St. Croix, the program he created to teach local students about space. 6 / 8
Ashley Kurtz, director of Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue accepted the award for 2017 Small Business of the Year. Coco’s Heart is a foster-based rescue located in downtown Hudson. 7 / 8
Alan Burchill joins the celebration remotely from Florida as he is awarded the 2017 Marie Blakeman Award. The award recognizes community members who represent the leadership and service of Blakeman. 8 / 8

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.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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