UNION, NJ – The Union Chamber of Commerce’s 62nd Annual Ball and Installation of Officers was held on Friday night at Galloping Hills Caterers to a packed banquet room.

“There’s No Business Like Chamber Business” was the theme of this year’s event, which included the installation of new officers, awards presentations, a tricky tray and silent auction, music and dancing.  Starting off the festivities, students from Kawameeh Middle School performed a couple of "There's No Business Like Chamber Business" songs.

“Our Chamber is growing.  We are 300 strong,” said Chamber President Angel Cartagena.  “Let’s keep Union vibrant and busy and prosperous.”

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Business of the Year Awards were presented to ConnectOne Bank and Maplecrest Ford Lincoln.

“You really can’t look at an event in the township, whether it’s street fairs, educational programs, our 5k run or our gala, without seeing the ConnectOne logo,” said Chamber Executive Director Jim Masterson.  “Those are just a few of the things they do in the community.”

“Union is a unique and tight-knit community,” said ConnectOne Bank Senior Vice President Julia D’Aloia.   “We are excited to bring innovation to Union.  We want to make sure every day that ConnectOne Bank focuses on our objective:  to be a better place for our customers, our community, our employees and our shareholders.”

About Maplecrest Ford Lincoln, the other Business of the Year Award recipient, Masterson said, “for decades upon decades, Maplecrest Ford Lincoln has been an important part of the community.”  We are grateful to them for all they have done in the community and for the support they have given to local organizations over the years.”

“I think the first time I spoke in front of the Chamber was 28 years ago,” said Maplecrest Ford Lincoln President Tom Giordano.  “We’ve been in business for 54 years now, since 1972 in Vauxhall.  We’re proud to be part of this community.  It’s a real honor to be here.”

“Spirit of Union Awards” were presented to Township of Union Clerk Eileen Birch and Kevin Woodridge. 

“If you dealt with Eileen in the township, you know she has a warm heart,” said Masterson.  “She heads up an incredible agency in town, The Union Food Pantry, that provides food services to needy residents.  She’s a Rotarian and friend to the Chamber.”

Birch’s brother, Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan accepted the award for Birch, who could not attend the event.  “Eileen is very much a part of our community,” said Cryan.  “My sister shares the appreciation of her friends and family that are very much the spirit of Union.”

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Spirit winner Kevin Woodridge.  “Thank you for honoring me along with the other honorees this evening.  There are so many people here that helped me along the way, whether with advice or a simple conversation.”

Other awards presented during the evening included the President’s Award to Deep Foods, Inc.; The James T. Schaefer Civic Service Award to Charles Minton; and The You ARE the Chamber Award to The Wellness Center, Five Points Branch and Wise Center of the Gateway Family YMCA.

Starting off the festivities, students from Kawameeh Middle School performed "There's No Business Like Chamber Business" at the Gala.