MADISON, NJ - The Madison Chamber of Commerce 2012 Annual Awards Dinner Tuesday night drew a record crowd as members of the business community gathered to honor their own.
The event, held at Hamilton Park, honored those business people who have contributed to the success of not only Madison's business community, but the town as a whole. Chamber members also recognized the new board members and honored the outgoing president, John Morris, and awarded three scholarships to graduating seniors.
The Jack Morris Memorial Scholarship, presented to a Madison High School senior who is planning to study a business-related field, was presented by Dr. Jim Hollenbach to Phil Duffy, Nicole Iannarone and Siobhan Mcculloch.
Mayor Bob Conley recognized Danielle Torrani Dixon, one of the co-chairs of this year's A Taste of Madison event, which Conley said raised $36,000, more than the goal of $33,000. The mayor presented a check for $12,000 to the Chamber of Commerce, one of the beneficiaries of the annual event.
The Business Improvements Award were presented by incoming Chamber President Ken Toumey. The Best Renovation 2012 Award went to Adams Dental, 1 Kings Road; and Doodlebugz Boutique, 55 Main Street, both of which Toumey recognized for their improvements to their buildings and, by extension, the business district.
The Best Re-Launch 2012 went to San Francisco Mercantile, 4 Green Village Road, owned by Bea Henderson and her daughter, Reily Urban.
The Appreciation Award went to Tivoli Creative Design Studio, 4 Cook Plaza, owned by Melanie Tomaszewski who Toumey described as one whose plate is never full enough and who always gets the job done.
The Community Service Award went to Coviello Brothers, 245 Main Street, for their ongoing contributions to the town, including lending their trucks to transport the Christmas tree, wreathes and Santa to the town's Christmas festivities, as well as many other community functions.
The Distinguished Service Award went to Arleen J. Gaetani of New Leaf Consignment, 16 Park Avenue, whom Toumey lauded for her devotion to the town and the fact that she has "never turned down the opportunity to help in any way."
Chamber Executive Director Karen Meyer presented the Extra Mile Award to Johnny Thomas of Upholstery Plus, and Dr. Sam Romano. Recipients of the Extra Mile Award are chosen by residents and shoppers of Madison.
Chamber executives also recognized board member Mike O'Dell for the work he has done as the Chamber's treasurer, and paid special tribute to Morris, whom Toumey said has been a great leader.
"There's nothing going on in the Chamber of Commerce that John Morris is not responsible for," Toumey said, adding that he's "scared to death" to follow him. An emotional Morris thanked everyone, and said the Chamber's success was all about teamwork.
The new Chamber board members were introduced, including:
Sam DeAngelis, Arleen Gaetani, Frank Iannarone, Michael Odell, Ken Toumey, Donna Bird, Anna Riker, Danielle Dixon, Judy Mullins, Marsha Ann Zimmerman, Mike Shapiro, Tom DeTitta, Louisa DeRose, Peter Daniele, John Morris, Carmine Toto, David Morozoff, Karen D’Addario, Jacquie Dinsmore and Trish Wilson.
In a rousing tribute, the first annual Hall of Fame Award was presented to Carmine Toto, Jr., who was recognized for his many achievements to Madison, including the Santa's House display that he and his children worked on every year and that is now a regular part of Madison's Christmas celebration. In accepting the award, Toto joked that although his kids sometimes greeted the news that it was time to build Santa's House again, particularly when they were teenagers, he now doesn't even have to mention it to his kids, because his grandchildren ask their parents when they get to work on Santa's House again.
Toto thanked all his friends and family for their support.
"How do you say thank you to a whole community?" he said. "Together, we all make Madison the best town in the USA."