On Jan. 28, Destin Chamber members celebrated outstanding individuals and businesses, during its Awards Party Presented by Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital. Opening with a reception to celebrate Embassy Suites by Hilton Destin – Miramar Beach’s 20th anniversary, which was commemorated with a champagne toast, attendees gathered in the ballroom for dinner and the awards presentation.
Click here to see photos from the event.
2020 Chairman of the Board Dion Moniz of Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC and Emerald Coast Title Services presented almost all of the awards. Before he could take the stage, past Chairman Kevin Bowyer of Warren Averett and 2021 Chairman Jerry Sullivan of Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican interrupted the show to present Moniz as the Business Person of the Year. Citing his service on several area non-profit boards, success as managing partner of a successful law firm and president of a successful title company, and sponsor of many area events, Bowyer said of his leadership as 2020 Chamber Chairman, “He led the organization with care and concern during a time that no one could have ever predicted would come. And he kept his sanity through it all.”
For going above and beyond in service to the Destin Chamber and the community, Jason Belcher of FNBT Bank, received the James D. Neilson, Sr., Chairman’s Award for Volunteer Service.
“This year’s winner seemed to always be there whenever we needed him. He was always available to help around the office. He was instrumental in keeping Destin Forward, our leadership and community education program, moving ahead. He pushed vital information to Shane and the staff to share, information that was so very important for our members to have. He was there with just a phone call or text message. He was there to sign checks, give us guidance and wisdom on the chamber financials, and even leading the effort to revise our budget based on changing numbers. Through this guidance, the chamber had an exceptional year,” said Moniz.
The Ann Gibson Community Service Award was presented to Marcia Hull, who recently retired after 22 years leading the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation.
“This is a recognition of nearly a lifetime of service. Our winner’s efforts ensure education for adults and children alike. Our winner’s name is synonymous with the field our winner represents. Our winner is one of the most recognizable names and faces in the community, and I believe you’ll agree that because of our winner’s efforts, thousands of residents and visitors alike gather together on Thursday nights for one of the best parties, week in and week out. She retired at the end of 2020. And we could think of no one better to recognize with this award for a lifetime of service,” said Moniz.
The entire 2020 Chamber Ambassador Club received this year’s Paul Woolman Ambassador of the Year. “Always there, always working, always eager. The Ambassadors really are the heart of our volunteer system within the chamber,” explained Moniz.
Moniz also recognized the Chamber’s outgoing board members, including Magda Cooper of BOTE, Julie Cotton of Northwest Florida State College, Bill Lindsley of SimpleHR, Mitch Mongell of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, Bryan Osborn of Anderson Engineering, Bob Perry of Destin Commons, Ken Wampler of Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, and Lockwood Wernet of Destin Water Users.
Thank you to all event sponsors that contributed greatly to the event’s success, including title sponsor Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital; reception sponsor Embassy Suites by Hilton Destin-Miramar Beach Celebrating its 20th Anniversary; food station sponsor Okaloosa Gas; bar sponsor The Blake at Miramar Beach; and gold sponsor Community Bank.