COOS BAY — "Connecting Community Cultures" was not only the theme of the 2018 Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet, but it was a challenge to Oregon's Bay Area to embrace the diversity that makes our community unique.

“I picked my theme due to the fact that the Chamber has been developing this idea for some time," said newly inaugurated Bay Area Chamber of Commerce President Tom Burdett at the 2018 Chamber Awards Banquet Saturday night at The Mill Casino-Hotel.

"In a very short time frame, due to running late this evening, I wish to convey that I wish for all of us to connect with community cultures. We have the capability to join together even more than we have to better ourselves at present and for those in the future. I would ask that all business owners/members participate in one of the various committees that the Chamber offers. If you as an owner are too busy, then allow one of your employees to participate on your behalf with pay/stipend and help develop the future for our success. It is what we need to do, can do and it will be added value to this area.

"So, let’s all go to work on our future success for we deserve it. Peace and Love everyone.”

Burdett succeeded 2017 Chamber president Jessica Engelke.

During the awards presentation, Tower Ford was honored as the Chamber's 2017 Business of the Year.

Other award recipients included Lonni Corona, recipient of Chamber Member of the Year; Teri Jones, Educator of the Year and the Ford Family Foundation President's Award.

A new award, the Richard "Mac" McIntosh Education Legacy Impact Award - in honor of the late Richard "Mac" McIntosh who passed away in 2017 after a valiant two-year battle against pancreatic cancer —  was presented to the McIntosh Family.

The Prefontaine Award was given to George Legesse, a former North Bend High School Student.

Performing their first time as the event was Joanna Goslin and Bay City Swing, The evening’s emcee was Clark Walworth.

A sold-out crowd in excess of 300 attended the annual event at The Mill's Salmon Room.

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