Chamber set for banquet

Posted: Friday, January 28, 2005

Judene Van Cleave said the most impressive thing about Nikiski is its true community feel.

So to celebrate and recognize those who have helped improve it, the Nikiski Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 22nd annual awards banquet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Agrium Camp.

"There's so much diversity in our community," said Van Cleave, chamber president. "Nikiski is genuinely a big family."

Five awards will be presented: Community Service, Business Person of the Year, Business of the Year, Community Vision and the President's Choice Award.

While the winners of the awards are kept under lock and key until the banquet, Van Cleave said this year's winners are a special group who have consistently participated in the community, making it a better place.

The ceremony will include a full dinner catered by Lighthouse Community Church and a no-host bar provided by the Back Door Sports Bar and Lounge.

The theme is Celebration of Education. Van Cleave said to get people in the education spirit, large pieces of paper — primary colors — were taken to the elementary school for students to decorate. They are decorating it with stars, rainbows and handprints, she said.

"It's just really bright and festive," she said. "It's awesome."

Teri Carter has been involved with the chamber for about eight years and used to be the secretary. She said the event is always a special time.

"It's all about community," she said.

Carter said she cares about Nikiski a lot, and the event is a way for everybody to congregate and celebrate how they have worked together.

The chamber continually is raising money from the area businesses for a scholarship fund. Students have the opportunity to be awarded up to $1,500 in scholarship money, Van Cleave said. This is the most important thing the chamber does, she said.

With concern about the announcement that Agrium's North Kenai plant will close later this year, Van Cleave, who will serve another term as president, said the chamber will help keep the community on track.

"We need to pull together and move forward on a positive note," she said.

Her organization will continue to motivate businesses and get them involved in the chamber working toward a common goal, she said.

Tickets for the awards ceremony cost $30. For more information or to purchase tickets, call Van Cleave at 776-5551.

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