Hats off to Debi Bray and her Madera District Chamber of Commerce officers, board and crew for putting on another outstanding Lifetime Achievement Awards dinner.
These awards, started by Melisa da Silva when she was chamber president, are among the most meaningful the city’s organizations present. Like the Senior Farmer awards every year (also a chamber event) they are meant to recognize members of the business community who have done more for the community than merely operate a business.
Not that there’s anything wrong with operating a business. Far from it. But Wednesday night’s honorees did more than work their tails off at making a living. They also gave of their time, treasure and talent to the community to make it a better place to live.
They belonged and worked in service clubs, they put their time into such organizations as Camp Fire, youth athletics and churches.
With all that, they also made time for their friends, and especially for their families. They are good examples of how we should live our lives.
They also are or were active members of the Madera District Chamber of Commerce, which is responsible for much that goes on in the community, but often gets little recognition.
The chamber is unique. It isn’t a service club, like Rotary or Kiwanis, but when service clubs need help with projects, they often look to the chamber to provide help, either with information or scheduling, or with assistance in getting something through the city bureaucracy.
If new people come into town with the idea of opening a business, one of the first places they go is the chamber. Once the business opens, the chamber helps them publicize their enterprises with ribbon cuttings.
The chamber is an advocate for business before official bodies. It keeps track of entrepreneurial conditions and is able to help its members see the bigger picture of business hills and valleys.
Without the chamber, the city and its business community would be much poorer.