Michigan City Chamber Celebrates Members at Annual Dinner

The Michigan City Chamber of Commerce recently held its Annual Member Dinner on March 25th in the beautiful Fremont Ballroom at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel, and Spa. In addition to the recognition of milestone members and legacy businesses, this year the Chamber added on an awards celebration. The five award categories recognized individual people and businesses who have made a difference in our business community during the year of 2021. Nominations were qualified by an anonymous Chamber Awards Committee, finalists in each category were notified, and winners announced during Friday’s event.

Prior to award announcements, chamber president, Katie Eaton, shared the chamber’s appreciation for and commitment to their members. “The future of our community is bright, and the future of your chamber is bright! With 50 new members added last year and an additional 19 so far this year, we have 380 members representing business in the Michigan City area. Your investment is appreciated, and it is helping us make an impact for our businesses and the greater Michigan City area.”

She went on to say, “As a connector, we are committed to providing our members with resources, meaningful relationships, and networking opportunities. As our community grows, we are committed to providing valuable opportunities for personal and professional development and advocate for community development that enhances quality of life in Michigan City. We also stay committed to the promotion of our diverse community by celebrating the successes of our businesses, organizations, and talent!” She invited anyone interested in getting involved to reach out to her, chamber staff, board members, or volunteers. As she moved toward the award portion of the program, she reaffirmed the Chamber’s commitment to celebrating member achievements, “And my favorite part- is our commitment to celebrating our members. And tonight, is a great night for doing just that- Let’s Celebrate!”

Awardees announced during the evening include:

Jessica O’Brien (Michigan City Area Schools), Young Professional of the Year

This award recognizes outstanding achievements of a young professional in their chosen career. The award is given to an individual who is considered a role model for other young professionals and contributes to the Michigan City community through time and talents. Jessica has always demonstrated and maintained her love for Michigan City and is fully invested in its’ improvement and growth. She is a great community leader and goes above and beyond to make sure those in need are supported and well cared for. She demonstrates passion, enthusiasm, dedication, a desire to learn, and is always ready and willing to step up and help in any way she can. She serves on several committees, boards, and is an avid volunteer for multiple organizations. Jessica embodies all that is good in the world, and her passion is truly contagious to others.

Social Que BBQ & Catering (Owner Brealon Hervey), Small Business of the Year

This award celebrates the success of a local small business and honors its contributions to the growth and diversity of the local economy. The small business recipient exemplifies innovation, entrepreneurship, community involvement, and individual initiative. Brealon always has a cheerful outlook, presents great service with a smile, and is committed to delivering the best to his customers. He is dedicated to his community and has worked hard to grow a successful and locally loved business. It is not unusual to see Brealon providing give backs for local organizations, joining forces on local events, or volunteering his time. He is a great promoter of the Chamber and efforts to reach entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them succeed.

Franciscan Health Michigan City, Large Business of the Year

This award celebrates the success of a local large business and honors its contributions to the growth and diversity of the local economy. This business recipient should exemplify innovation, resiliency, community engagement, demonstrated growth in business and job creation, investment in infrastructure, and professional development of employees. The business should have an impact on their industry, innovative product or service, business growth in the last year, and community involvement. Franciscan Health Michigan City and their employees have had a profound impact on our city and community over this past year. They have created multiple new services and partnerships with local organizations that have benefitted not only the community, but the entire county.  While facing true challenges within their own business during the pandemic, Franciscan continued to support others in the community by sharing their employees, resources, and expertise in a time of need. With continued investment in facilities and program offerings, they are a true asset to Michigan City.

Selah Brooks (Duneland Media), Chamber Ambassador of the Year

This award recognizes an ambassador of the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce who has shown commitment to their volunteer role as a Champion of the Chamber over the last year. The award is given to an ambassador who has shown true leadership in their work, positive representation, promotion of the Chamber, and who has given of their time and talents to enhance the Chamber’s profile and interactions with its members. Selah Brooks has been a standout over this past year. He has made a big impact in a short amount of time, regularly attending Chamber events and constantly being the first to volunteer for assignments.  We regularly hear from members about this Selah’s enthusiasm, positive energy, and overall ability to tell a story that will leave you laughing for a long time.

United Way of La Porte County, Community Impact Award

This award celebrates the success of an individual, organization, or business who has made a significant and positive impact on the community. The community impact should be beneficial to the whole community, shows real results or solutions-oriented practices, and should have lasting value for the Michigan City area. United Way of La Porte County created new partnerships and collaborations across the county in the last year to assist families in need. They worked diligently to provide needed support for numerous partners and organizations who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic proving the importance of our organization like theirs during a time of community need. They have raised and disbursed $1.5 million dollars to provide much needed supplies and assistance to Michigan City residents and programs during the pandemic.

The evening was brought to a close with a celebratory champagne toast led by Don Babcock, Director of Community and Economic Development at Purdue Northwest, who cheered on the importance of leadership, celebrated the successes of our city, and congratulated the winners of the evening.

Photos provided by Christian Alexander. View the photo gallery

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