Immokalee Chamber of Commerce hosts Networking After 5 Affair

(Submitted photo/Fred N Thomas Jr)
Pictued from left to right: Patti Calderon-Vice President of the Chamber, Linda Ayer “Citizen of the Year” and Danny Gonzalez-President of The Immokalee Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber’s President, Danny Gonzalez wanted this event to be more than just networking with local chambers, clubs and organizations. Danny along with his Board of Director’s decided to include a Community Appreciation Awards and a community sponsored raffle for all attendees. Last year a Grand-Ole “Appreciation Banquet” was in the planning stage when our community was devastated by Hurricane Irma. Danny and his director’s thought it was more important to help Immokalee get back on its feet from the hurricane with any and all resources available to help and support the Immokalee community.

This year, Danny with his Board of Directors’ decided to give the following awards to loyal community active chamber members who had excelled in the Immokalee community, all except for “The Citizen of the Year”. Danny Gonzalez stated this award will always be give to any community minded individual who has contributed his or her time to the betterment of kids ,adults and causes in the community of Immokalee and surrounding areas.

The Immokalee Chamber of Commerce Awards were as follow:

Citizen of the Year was given to Linda Ayer, retired school teacher from the CCPS and a outstanding Athletic Director at IHS. “For your loyal and unselfish devotion to all the kids & residents of Immokalee, We Thank You,” The Immokalee Chamber of Commerce.

The Community Service Award from the Collier County Sheriff Office in Immokalee was given to Corporal Patti Calderon, Corporal Mike Taylor and Corporal Lydia Pitre. “Congratulation, from the Hearts and Souls of all the Residents of Immokalee,” The Immokalee Chamber of Commerce.

New Business of the Year Award was awarded to First1Bank’s, Vice President-Bernardo Barnhart. “Congratulations on our newest and latest full service bank in Immokalee,” Immokalee Chamber of Commerce.

Most Improved Business of the Year Award was given to: Sandy Gonzalez of Lozano’s Mexican Restaurant. “Its takes a Village to operate your delicious business. We Thank You! The Immokalee Chamber of Commerce.

Business Women of the Year Award went to to Karen Hendry of Bruce Hendry Insurance Company for displaying “Women Power in Business,” Immokalee Chamber of Commerce.

Business Man of the Year Award goes to Edward “Ski” Olesky, “for all of your various community service projects rendered to the community of Immokalee,” The Immokalee Chamber of Commerce.

Non-Profit Business of the Year Award was awarded to Julian Morgan, Center Manager of The Boys & Girls Club of Collier County. “Thanks for coming to Immokalee and being a part of our community,” The Immokalee Chamber of Commerce.

Community Partnership Award went to Blake Gableo the Barron Collier Partnership II. “Thanks for all the business friendships given to the community of Immokaleee,” The Immokalee Chamber of Commerce. Receiving this award for Blake was Monica Villa.

The Business of the Year Award was given to The Lipman Family Farms. (JaimeWeinsinger).”Your entire family are true IMMOKALEANS, Your family help shape the Immokalee community,” The Immokalee Chamber of Commerce.

A Chamber of Commerce Appreciation Letter was presented to Estil Null for his generosity and kindness with sharing his total office space, time and his commitments with the Immokalee Chamber of Commerce.

After the awards were given out, Danny Gonzalez and Cherryle Thomas hosted some breathe taking moments with a fantastic community sponsored raffle.

The Immokalee Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee for hosting their event which was well attended by other local Chambers in the area and with local clubs and organizations. At the end of the evening, Danny Gonzalez’s Board of Directors’ acknowledged that Danny was doing a superb job as the current President of ICOC.

Fred is special to the Immokalee Bulletin and he can be reached at

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