Friday night, October 16, the Santee Chamber of Commerce held its annual Awards Night at Barona Resort and Casino. The Awards Night is the opportunity to recognize citizens and businesses that help to make Santee a special community. A big “Thank You” goes out to the folks at Barona for hosting the event as well as for their support all through the year. Kudoi (the technically correct plural of “kudos”) also to Chamber President and Awards Night host Rob McNelis and the entire Awards Night Committee for the fantastic job the did.
Thank You to Award Night Sponsors and Contributors
(L-R) Sierra Billock (Miss Santee 2009), Troy Hartpence (Mistress of Ceremonies), and Kimberly Swank (First Runner Up 2009)
(L-R) Commander of USMC 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, Sierra Billock, Kimberly Swank, Santee Mayor Randy Voepel
The festivities started off with a no-host bar reception at the Barona Golf Event Center, located across from the resort hotel. This was an opportunity for attendees to mingle, chat with friends, and meet new people. Following the reception, everyone moved on to the banquet room for more mingling and an opportunity to check out the Silent Auction items available. Following welcomes from Mistress of Ceremonies Troy Hartpence and Barona Resort & Casino General Manager Rick Salinas, a wonderful meal was served. (I apologize for not getting pictures of the food – I was too busy eating.) Dinner began with a delicious Connelly greens salad, followed by either prime rib or pan seared halibut, and topped off with a creme brulee with fresh berries. Suffice to say, I doubt if anyone went hungry.
Silent Auction Table
Welcomes from Troy Hartpence (Mistress of Ceremonies), Rick Salinas (Barona GM), Rob McNelis (Chamber President), and Randy Voepel (Mayor of Santee)
The main event of the evening was the presentation of awards to the individuals and businesses being honored for their efforts in Santee. The honorees were all chosen for their dedication to the city and the people who live here. Their accomplishments ranged from helping to find a new home for the Santee Food Bank, to working with students at many levels, to helping to organize important events. Following are the honorees and their awards.
Molli Knobbe – Sheriff’s Department Crime Fighter of the Year
Jason Custeau – Santee Firefighter of the Year
Donna Farquar – Educator of the Year
Ron Durrett – Rotarian of the Year
Dr. Robert Grazian – Lion’s Community Service Award (in absentia)
Pat Chambers – Chamber President’s Award
Liza Hopewell – Citizen of the Year
Ron Hall Insurance & Notary Service – Small Business of the Year
GTM General Discount Store – Medium Business of the Year
Barona Resort & Casino – Large Business of the Year
RiverView MD Spa – New Business of the Year
USMC 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, Camp Pendleton
USMC Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 – “Heavy Haulers”
The evening wrapped up with a live auction, emceed by President, Auctioneer, and all-around Bon Vivant, Rob McNelis. After accidentally reselling an item from the silent auction, Rob found his stride and carried the evening to a successful close. All proceeds from the silent and live auctions go to the charitable groups the Chamber helps.
Auction Master McNelis
The Great Masquerade