Standing ovations at Kenai Chamber of Commerce luncheons are few and far between and most often for visiting dignitaries or returning military heroes. However, as executive director Tina Baldridge attended her final meeting before moving with her husband to Alberta, Canada, appreciation for her service over the last two years was expressed by a resounding standing ovation and wishes of "Come home soon!" "It was a wonderful send off, I was caught off guard and got a bit emotional, but while I'm sad to leave our community my family and I will be pursuing new endeavors with ConocoPhillips in Alberta, but we hope to return someday. I'll cherish my experience as the Kenai Chamber's executive director forever. I do want to deeply thank the community for its support over the years, it's been a wonderful ride and we truly are so fortunate to live in this community that is so committed and supportive," said Baldridge.
Easing the loss of Baldridge to the Chamber was the announcement that a familiar face to the community and former assistant director some ten years ago Carol Bannock would be assuming the position of executive director. Bannock is a lifelong Alaskan raised on the Kenai Peninsula, graduated from Cook Inlet Academy, and raised her own family in Kenai. "I remember those years vividly, I learned a lot from Aud Walenzak who was the director then. When Duane and I returned to Kenai I had no idea that Tina would be leaving for Canada, and was so happy to be back, volunteering for the Chamber and attending events. I had told friends when asked that being the Chamber director would be my dream job having no idea the position would be open. Now my dream has come true and I get to put into action all the ideas I have to develop and promote the community where we both were raised and raised our own family. This is truly a community to be cherished and I'm very excited to be working for the Chamber again and having the opportunity of bringing new ideas such as social networking into the next decade," Bannock told the Dispatch.
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