WTIP file photo

WTIP hosts 2020 Cook County Chamber Gala

For the past decade or so, Visit Cook County has brought county residents together at the end of the summer and fall seasons for a celebratory fall gala. As part of the celebration, for the past seven years the Cook County Chamber of Commerce has presented awards to members of the local business community recognizing the hard work, dedication, achievements, milestones and newcomers to the scene.

In short, the annual fall gala is a celebration of the local business community in Cook County. It’s also a time for friends to come together and celebrate another busy season in the community.

Things are different this year as the COVID-19 pandemic rolls through the fall and into winter. The fall get together for the business community won’t take place, at least not in person. Instead, the gala happened live on WTIP.

Cook County Chamber Executive Director Jim Boyd and the Chamber’s Board Chair Karen Blackburn joined WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs on the airwaves as part of this special program. Boyd and Blackburn, who appeared via a Zoom conference call, presented a collection of awards to members of the local business community.

The following awards were presented during the show:

Entrepreneur of the Year: Christina Conroy, The Bad Seed GM Food Stand; Rebel Girls Community Minded Catering

Business of the Year: Grand Marais State Bank, Mark Youngdahl

Community Business Leader of the Year: Dennis Rysdahl, Bluefin Bay

The Norman Deschampe Community Service Award: This award went to the entire Cook County community for its calm, responsible and serious-minded response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chamber writes. Accepting this award on behalf of the community was Rena Rogers.

Of the final award for the program, Boyd said there are so many individuals, groups and businesses we could individually name for their exemplary behavior these past eight months, indeed so many it would be impossible to write a comprehensive list.

“We applaud you all for helping keep us safe so far,” Boyd said, “and for the effort we know you will invest in continuing to keep us safe until this virus is overcome.”

The audio below is the entire program as it aired live Oct. 28 on WTIP.