Awards, elections and a surprise at Norwich chamber event

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Norwich — With close to 300 people in attendance, the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting and awards banquet Thursday at the Holiday Inn Norwich, featuring five awards, the election of new officers and an unexpected question at the end.

The Community Service Awards went to Rodney Green of Olde Tymes Restaurant and Ryan Aubin of Griswold Youth & Family Services, the Civic Achievement Award went to Reliance Health Inc., and the Business of the Year Awards went to The Nutmeg Companies Inc. and the Holiday Inn Norwich.

Chamber Executive Director Angela Adams told The Day on Friday that all have been involved in the community since the chamber's inception in 2004 and all are passionate about what they do.

The meeting included the election of the chamber's Executive Board: Nancy Cowser as chairman, Lisa Griffin and Jeff Brining as vice chairmen, Andre Messier as treasurer and Stacie Lambert as secretary. Only Brining and Lambert are new to the Executive Board, and this is the second term as chairman for Cowser, the executive director of seCTer (Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region).

Last year the chamber saw growth in its career expos and other events; more than 100 organizations participated in the Healthy Living Festival and 75 took part in the Holiday Bazaar, Adams said. Chamber membership grew to 535.

In 2020, she said the chamber will continue to work with other business organizations to educate members and provide opportunities for members to collaborate.

At the end of the event, Adams proposed to her boyfriend by putting up a PowerPoint slide reading, "Craig Kirchhoff Will You Marry Me ... US?" with pictures featuring her, her daughter and her pets.

He said yes.

Editor's Note: This version corrects the spelling of Jeff Brining's name, how long Nancy Cowser has been chairman and the increase in chamber membership.


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