BY HILLARY VIDERS
SPECIAL TO NORTHERN VALLEY PRESS
Over 100 people attended the Englewood Chamber of Commerce's Annual Awards Dinner honoring the chamber's outgoing Board Chairman James Dunn on April 11 at the Englewood Field Club.
Dunn was also presented with a proclamation from the City of Englewood by Mayor Frank Huttle III.
“Although James is stepping down as the ECC Chair, he is young, so I know that he will be here assisting Englewood for many more years,” said Huttle.
Dunn also received a proclamation from state Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and state Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle.
Dunn accepted these honors with great praise for the ECC and the City of Englewood.
“This evening is about something much bigger than myself. It's about our community. It's about the chamber's continued efforts to educate and promote the businesses that make up this great city,” said Dunn. “It's about the way that the chamber has created a real sense of unity that keeps companies like mine here for 126 years.
“This organization is doing a hell of a job regardless of inner town politics or economic pushback,” he continued. “I'm so very proud to have served as chair of this hard-working organization and I look forward to continuing my support under [incoming ECC Board Chairman] Mr. Brooks' reign. Thank you again ECC for this award, and thank you, Englewood.”
The event included a raffle with prizes ranging from restaurant certificates, show tickets and wellness packages.
“The annual ECC Award reception began in 2016,” explained ECC President Carol Rauscher. “It is different from other award ceremonies because it recognizes the community leaders who are hands on, who are really out there doing things to better the city of Englewood. It is also a very personal event, because everything here tonight comes from local merchants, from the catering, to the flowers, to the entertainment, even the award.”
With resounding applause, Dunn was presented with the ECC award, an original painting made by Rebecca Ariz, a student at the Fusion Academy in Englewood under the supervision of art teacher Giselle McMenamin. The picture was framed by Arielle's Gallery in Englewood.
A sumptuous sushi bar, buffet dinner and dessert table were catered by TNT Dining and the entertainment was in the capable hands of ECC Music. Song Piano of Englewood provided keyboard that pianist George Tuzzeo played throughout the evening. Tuzzeo, a celebrity performer, is currently playing on national tour with Jay and the Americans.
The lively and elegant affair was attended by numerous special guests and community leaders, including Mayor Huttle, Assemblywoman Huttle, Assemblyman Johnson, former Councilman Scott Reddin, Joan Van Alstyne Johnson, Jill Abbott, Mitch Schonfeld, Janet Sharma and Shelly Wimpfheimer.
The ECC Board was also present and in high spirits: Incoming ECC Board Chair Todd Brooks, President Carol Rauscher and Board members Kelly Cassidy, Richard Engel, David Chazen, Stephanie Greco, Nancy Hong, Nick Prastos, Richard Schwartz, John Spencer and Andy Tronick.
A troupe of beautiful dancers, aged 13 to 18, from Progressive Dance Co. performed their award-winning number, “March,” the piece for which they recently won a top award at the StarPower and NUVO competitions for their performance and choreography.
At the award presentation, Rauscher spoke elegantly about how Dunn was the best possible person to receive the ECC honor. “He's amazing! We call him "Mr. Englewood,"” she said. “James revitalized the ECC in 2013, and he set it on its current upward course. He is wonderful
to work with, he provided anything we ever needed and he has a great way with people.”