Dulles Regional Chamber President Eileen Curtis, left, and Chamber Board of Directors Chairman Kirk Forman, right, present the proceeds of the paddle auction to USO Metropolitan Washington representative Pam Horton, center.
Photo by Rich Kessler
Laughter and style were out in full force as more than 300 guests attended the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards gala and benefit Saturday at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel in Herndon.
In addition to recognizing local businesses, non-profits and citizens for their support of both the chamber and community, this year’s "Stars Over Dulles" gala also benefited the Metropolitan Washington branch of the United Service Organizations [USO].
During a 15-minute paddle auction led by Del. Ken Plum (D-36), those present raised nearly $20,000 to support the USO—quadrupling last year’s fundraising efforts of $5,000.
The money will support the USO’s Emergency Food Assistance Program, which has seen a 45 percent increase in food pantry use over the last three years by struggling military families.
In keeping with the evening’s theme, the Dulles Regional Chamber honored more than 24 American heroes from various military branches at the gala, many of whom attended as the chamber’s guests.
The chamber also recognized its award winners, including: Small Business of the Year, AdviCoach, represented by Angela Inzerillo and James Lawson; Mid-size Business of the Year, GraceFul Care, represented by Pat Williams; and Large Business of the Year, CACI, represented by Dan Allen, president of North America operations.
Among area non-profit organizations, Devotion to Children, represented by Rosemary Lauer, received the Small Non-profit of the Year award, while Reston Interfaith, represented by Kerrie Wilson, was recognized as the Large Non-profit of the Year.
Bill Lauer of TETRA Partners received the Citizen of the Year award.
Each of the six non-profit nominees received a spontaneous $500 donation from award announcer Justin Exner.