The period of sustained economic prosperity that marked the "Roaring '20s" was embraced by Delta Area Chamber of Commerce members both visually and with a sense of optimism underscored by the many, many nominations for Business of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Educator of the Year. Clearly, Delta's business community believes there's much to celebrate.
Encouraged to dress in period attire, folks showed up in beaded dresses, feathered hats, stylish fedoras and vintage neckties. Amanda Hasto was credited with the decorations that made the gym at Bill Heddles Recreation Center feel like a nightclub complete with jazz music from Take Five.
Guests were welcomed by Darnell Place-Wise, the chamber's executive director, who took a brief look back at 2017 and highlighted upcoming events, including the spring Home, Garden and Recreation show April 6-7 and Deltarado Days the last weekend in July. Building on the momentum from last year, Place-Wise said the Altrusans' kick-off dinner, movie in the park and car show would also be moving to Confluence Park this year. Three Downtown DeltaFests are scheduled, in May, June and August, on the last Thursday of the month. The end of the year will bring a Business Expo, Small Business Saturday and the Parade of Lights.
The 48 new members of the chamber were listed and asked to stand as their names were read.
Then it was time for awards.
Business of the Year nominees included Clubb's, Jerry Reiher State Farm, First Colorado National Bank, Ultimate Skydiving Adventures, Thread-It Embroidery, Delta Hardware, Hellman Motor Company, Needle Rock Brewing Company, Shears To You, Anytime Fitness, Daveto's, Doghouse Espresso and Guild Mortgage.
Winners were determined by a vote of members, and in this category the award went to Doghouse Espresso, described as the place for the residents of Delta to meet and come together.
In accepting the award, owner Cassie Byers said she has worked in food service since she was 14 years of age. But because she's also artistic, the ability to create latté art and pastries has been right up her alley.
The Doghouse serves about 200 people a day. "This is not only our home away from home, but it's such a community hangout," she said. Cassie and her husband, Bryan Vest, purchased the adjacent building which houses an art gallery featuring rotating displays from artists and potters. They're getting ready to put in a kitchen, "so we can do what we've been doing on a much bigger scale."
Nonprofit of the Year nominees were River Valley Health Clinic, Food for Thought, Abraham Connection, Families Plus, Delta Elks Lodge, A Kidz Clinic, Delta Christian Church, HopeWest and Heirlooms of Delta, All Points Transit, Delta Street Rodders Car Club, Second Saturday Stroll Delta County Historical Society, Delta Fire Department, Salvation Army and CASA of the 7th Judicial District.
The winner was the Delta Fire Department.
"This is kind of a no-brainer -- and years and years overdue!" said the individual making the nomination. "Delta's Volunteer Fire Department literally saves lives and families, homes and hearts. What would we do without our amazing fire department? How can we ever truly thank the many men (and their families at home) for being on call for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for every single tragedy that comes about in Delta. From fires to accidents, and our amazing 4th of July fireworks -- we are so very fortunate to have such a wonderful volunteer fire department. Thank you for all that you do in our community!"
In 2017, the fire department's 26 volunteers responded to 250 calls.
The award was accepted by Shannon Crespin, district manager, and Kevin Teal, assistant fire chief.
Nominated for Volunteer of the Year were Kami Collins, Danielle Angotti, Susan Hansen, Annie Barker, Cecelia Tafoya, Jan Blue and Charlie Farrell, Amanda Hasto, Alice Lister and Al Formicola.
The winner was Kami Collins, who exclaimed, "Holy cow! There are many, many people in this room who recognize a community problem that needs to be solved and there are people who step up ... I am glad to be one of those and to give back as I am able."
Collins volunteers with the homeless shelter, Girl Scouts and Lincoln Elementary. "Kami Collins is the consummate volunteer," said the individual who nominated her for the award. "She loves to help in all areas and she does it with enthusiasm."
New this year was an Educator of the Year award. Rob Ames, an English teacher at Delta High School, was the award recipient. He is a 1983 graduate of DHS who moved to Delta in the eighth grade. "When I got here, I thought I had dropped right in the middle of a Happy Days episode," he said.
"I love being a teacher at Delta High School, I love the kids at Delta High School, and I love the town of Delta, and I can't tell you how humbled and proud I am to represent all of Delta High School with this award."
Other nominees included Al Williams, Jennifer Magner, Tina Miller, Andrew Bruington, Michael Klouser, Derek Carlson, Willyn Webb, Shawna Magtutu, Jim Farmer, Danielle Carre, Ben Magtutu, Jeremy McCormick and James Hughes.
A special award went to Cecelia Tafoya, a chamber ambassador who faithfully represents the chamber at ribbon cuttings, grand openings and other special events.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.