The Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce honored business owners, firefighters, veterans and law enforcement officers at its 35th Annual Dinner Celebration at The Centre on Oct. 5.
East Lake Fire Rescue Chief Tom Jamison presented Lt. Paramedic Jason Gennaro with the East Lake Firefighter of the Year award.
Organizers managed to surprise Palm Harbor Fire Chief James Angle by presenting him with the Chamber's Citizen of the Year award.
Chief Angle was standing in front of the crowd while Lt. Jason Haynes was receiving his award for Palm Harbor Firefighter of the Year. Haynes spoke for quite some time, then Angle was surprised with the Citizen of the Year trophy.
"There's always some scam," Angle laughed, referring to the fact that every year there is a lot of secret, behind-the-scenes planning to make sure the person who receives the Citizen of the Year award is surprised.
"Jason was almost to the end before I even caught on," he said.
Angle had the crowd howling when he revealed to them that he finally had an explanation for why his wife attended the dinner.
"My wife's been my wife for a long time, but she's never come to one in the 15 years I've been chief," he said.
Greater Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Paul Hittos, who is the owner of Tiffany's Family Festaurant, served as emcee for the awards presentations. That evening, he passed his gavel on to his successor, Connie Stewart of Sun Trust Bank.
Hittos mentioned his wife, Sarah, when he was thanking the people who've helped him during his term as board chairman.
"She's my everything," he said. "You're just as smart and tough as you are beautiful."
Other guests honored included-
- Law Enforcement Officers of the Year – Deputy Brian Diebold and Deputy James Piper
- Palm Harbor Firefighter of the Year – Lt. Jason Haynes
- East Lake Firefighter of the Year – Lt. Paramedic Jason Gennaro
- Distinguished Veteran of the Year – Brian McParland
- Lifetime Achievement - Murray Smith
- Palm Harbor Chamber Honorary Mayor – Arlene Tracht, Patriot Bank
- Palm Harbor Chamber Ambassadors of the Year– Connie Stewart Schuck, Suntrust Bank and Jordan Myers, T-Mobile of Palm Harbor
- 2012-2013 Chairman of the Board – Connie Stewart Schuck, Suntrust Bank-East Lake
- Executive Board Members- Connie Davis, President/CEO, Jordan Myers, T-Mobile of Palm Harbor
- Palm Harbor Chamber Small Business of the Year – Green-Tech Termite and Pest Control
- Palm Harbor Chamber Large Business of the Year – Chick-fil-A, Palm Harbor