MADISON, NJ - The bagpipes played leading all guests into the Madison Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner held at the Hamilton Park Hotel and Conference Center in Florham Park on Wednesday, June 11.
"This is a night for reflection, recognition, celebration and congratulations to amazing individuals in Madison who make it a wonderful place to visit, live, work and do business", said the President of the Madison Chamber of Commerce, Ken Toumey. Toumey spoke about the Chamber as an organization without a building and yet a strong group of caring people who work without pay to make things happen. Toumey initiated a round of applause in recognition of the Chamber, its past and present members and reaching a milestone of a seventy year existence. Later, Toumey talked about Hurricane Sandy and how all Madison merchants and citizens deserve an award for everything that was done to help Madison bounce back not to mention the tremendous outreach and support to Union Beach.
Welcoming guests, he recognized Mayor Robert Conley, the Executive Director of the Chamber, Karen Meyer and all twenty Chamber Board of Directors by name. "These folks have volunteered and shared a great deal of their time and their resources. We applaud all of you for everything that you do," Toumey said.
Danielle Dixon, owner of d torr Boutique was recognized for her two years as the Chamber's chair for the annual Taste of Madison event. "It's not an easy task, and throughout it all, Danielle keeps her sunny disposition. The event raised a great deal of money for the Chamber, the Rotary and the DDC. She's amazing," he said.
The Jack Morris Scholarships were presented to Meghan Riley who will attend Gettysburg College, PA , Kathryn Meyer who will attend Rutgers University and Ryan Stevens who was unable to attend the event and accept his award.
The Business Improvement Awards were presented by John Morris of Stewart-Morris for Best New Sign to Chamber Street Papers, Best Renovation to T & J Service Center, Best New Building to Walgreens, Best Relaunch to Firehouse and Best Revitalization to the Lincoln Place Project.
Other awards included the Appreciation Award to Rocco Iossa, the Distinguished Service Award to Judy Mullins, owner of Poor Herbie's, the Community Service Award to Investors Bank and Salvatore Minardi.
Reading a few testimonials from satisfied customers about this recipient, Karen Meyer, Executive Director, presented the Extra Mile Award to Carol Osbourne, an employee at Salvatore Minardi's salon.
"And now we present even more than an award. This singular recognition is the highest honor from the Chamber. It is induction into our very own Hall of Fame," said Toumey. "This is about unwavering commitment to the ideals, mission and values of the Chamber and for willingness to go above and beyond for the Chamber and the town of Madison," he said.
Toumey spoke for twenty minutes about Peter Daniele of Rose City Collision. He painted a picture of Peter Daniele's life, a true Madisonian, who lost his father when he was 14, how he had to go to work at 15 to help his family. He worked in a variety of jobs and eventually became involved in the auto body business. He built long lasting relationships with other merchants who helped him along the way like Rocco Iosso, Jigs Mantone and John Torrani. Pete's love for cars led to a $35 purchase of a 1955 Chevrolet that he still owns and shows today - The Candied Classic. Chamber members and guests surmised that Daniele's 'hot rod' explains his 20+ year involvement in the Madison Car Show, a major fundraiser for Madison.
Toumey also indicated that the Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween Hoopla and the Holiday Decorating Contest to name a few were largely because of Daniele's leadership. Toumey described Daniele as "a giver, an unselfish patron with a heart of gold and always looking out for the betterment of Madison."
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the 2013 inductee into the Madison Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame...from Rose City Collision...Pete Daniele," said Toumey. Daniele approached the podium and accepted the award stressing his gratitude and appreciation to one and all.
Afterwards Daniele said, "I'm so honored. This is great having everyone here for me, and it really means a lot to see all the cops here too. That was a good surprise," he said.
Chief Dachisen of the Madison Police Department said, "We wouldn't have missed this. It's an award well deserved."