Perry’s commercial classes gathered Tuesday night at La Poste for the annual Perry Chamber of Commerce awards banquet. About 100 members and guests mingled over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and listened to the music of Blue Stem — Shannon and Cindy Bryan of Jamaica — before sitting down to a buffet dinner catered by Hy-Vee.
Perry Chamber of Commerce Past President Chrissy VonBehren Danger welcomed the assembly to the 2017 awards banquet and recognized the members of the board of directors of the Perry Chamber of Commerce, including herself and other executive board members, Lee Coons, past president, Macinzie McFarland, vice president, and Susie Moorhead, treasurer, and directors Dave Wright, Kelsey Hughes, Misty VonBehren, Matt Rohe, Travis Landgrebe and Emily Leslie.
Danger thanked Chamber staff members Bob Wilson, executive director, and Julie Scheib, executive secretary, for their steadfast service to the commercial community.
Deacon Dan Leslie of the First Baptist Church in Perry gave the invocation before the meal,
“We ask that you would bless our time together, Lord, and that you would just continue to bless this community,” Leslie prayed. “Help all these businesses continue to grow and be successful, Lord, and we pray that we would continue to be there to support each other and encourage each other.”
After dinner, Wilson spoke briefly about the Chamber’s accomplishments last year and ongoing projects for this year, encouraging the membership in their ongoing efforts to make Perry great again or even greater.
“Look for the helpers,” Wilson said, quoting a edifying tract. “You’ll always find people who are helping.”
Danger and Wilson then opened the awards portion of the event by giving an award to Coons in gratitude for his service as the 2016 president of the Perry Chamber of Commerce. Coons owns and operates the Raccoon River Valley Bike Co.
Wilson introduced the winner of the Perry Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Perry Business of the Year with a brief history of the 118-year-old Wiese Industries. Alan Lenz, president of Wiese Industries, accepted the award and thanked his fellow chamber members for their continued support.
The Perry Chamber of Commerce’s Jack Finneseth Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award went to the Community Christmas Dinner Community, represented at the banquet by, from left, Joelle Miner, Deb Miller and Larry Meacham. Wilson said the countless hours of work donated by the numerous unnamed volunteers have made the annual charity meal a success for a decade.
Kyle and Mindy Baxter, owners of AccuJet, received the Perry Chamber of Commerce Young Professional Award for their contributions to the local economy and community. Raccoon Valley Bank financier Matt McDevitt presented the award to the Baxters, including some good-natured raillery
The blue-green awards for the 2017 Perry Chamber of Commerce banquet were provided by Bacon Jewelers, a downtown Perry business for more than 50 years.
A pie auction for the chamber’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration followed the awards ceremony, with auctioneer Dr. Tom Burkgren’s one-way bidding process and the generosity of the town’s many local commercial titans bringing in more than $2,000 for the annual pyrotechnical spectacle.