During its Jan. 13 Business Before Hours and Annual Membership Meeting at LuLu’s Destin, the Destin Chamber honored some of its most outstanding volunteers and installed its 2023 Chairman and Board of Directors.
Before passing the gavel to 2023 Chairman of the Board Jason Belcher of FNBT Bank, 2022 Chairman Jennifer Gutai Comella of Hand Arendall Harrison Sale presented the James D. Neilson, Sr., Chairman’s Award for Volunteer Service and the Paul Woolman Ambassador of the Year Award. These awards are usually presented during December’s Holiday & Awards Party, but the winners were unable to attend that event.
Ambassador Chairman Brenda Gray of Hilton Garden Inn - Destin/Miramar Beach received the Paul Woolman Ambassador of the Year Award for her tireless efforts as an ambassador.
“Never one to back away from responsibility or tasks at hand, she has influenced the success of the Chamber in every way possible,” said Comella. "She’s an individual who loves serving the Chamber, and she’s also one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet."
For going above and beyond in service to the Destin Chamber and the community, Fred Fenn of Fenn Properties LLC received the James D. Neilson, Sr., Chairman’s Award for Volunteer Service.
"This year’s winner has gone so far and above that it’s impossible to describe his value to the Destin Chamber. He misses few events. He’s always working, assisting staff, assisting volunteers, and leading the volunteer organization of our largest events. He always seems to say yes. And he’s been doing this for years,” explained Comella.
Comella called longtime Chamber Ambassador and volunteer Col. William Head, Retired, Air Force, to join Fenn on the stage.
“"The Destin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has discretion to give special recognition when it deems it appropriate. Those of you who attend our functions and events know that these two outstanding men are vital to the success of our Chamber. At the December board meeting, the Board voted to use this discretion. Therefore, it is my pleasure, on behalf of the entire membership of the Chamber and the business community to award each of you an honorary lifetime membership to thank you for your many years of outstanding contributions and service to this Chamber,” said Comella.
After taking the gavel, Belcher explained the goals he and the Board created for the coming year, including mentoring future Chamber, business and community leaders; further involvement with City of Destin planning and committees; and increased membership appreciation and engagement.
“I look forward to serving as your Chairman in 2023. I am following many great leaders, and I will do my very best to uphold the honor and integrity with which each of those previous chairmen served,” said Belcher.
Belcher then introduced the entire 2023 Board of Directors. Joining him on the Executive Committee are Chairman Elect Christian Carlee, Trustmark; Immediate Past Chairman Jennifer Gutai Comella, Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC; Treasurer Jenni Brunson, Okaloosa Gas; Vice Chairman/Community & Tourism Development Branden Crosby, Warren Averett; Vice Chairman/Government Affairs & Economic Development Monica M. Wallis, P.E., Destin Water Users, Inc.; and Vice Chairman/Membership Development Jason Hall, Five Channels.
Board members include David Butler, Faith Assembly Christian Church; Whitney Lee, SocialLee PR & Media Co; Jearl McCall, Emerald Bay Golf Club; Zach McCluskey, HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital; Bryan Osborn, Anderson Engineering, Inc.; Tanya Rauch, VTrips; Capt. Chad Rewis, Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office; Most Immediate Past Chairman Jerry Sullivan, Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican; Chairman's Appointee Magda Cooper, BOTE; Chairman's Appointee John Toombs, Harmony Vacation Rentals; and Special Appointee Col. Kim Wintner, Retired, Air Force.
For more information about the Destin Chamber, please call (850) 837-6241 or visit DestinChamber.com.
Top Left Photo (left to right): Jason Belcher, Jennifer Gutai Comella, Chuck Comella
Top Right Photo (left to right): Jennifer Gutai Comella, Brenda Gray
Bottom Photo (left to right): Jennifer Gutai Comella, Bill Head, Fred Fenn, Shane Moody