Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts awards banquet

Connecting communities, the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce presented awards at their 31st annual banquet at the event center at Hampshire Hills on June 5.

The chamber represents the towns of Amherst, Brookline, Greenville, Hollis, Lyndeborough, Mason, Milford, Mont Vernon, New Ipswich, Temple and Wilton.

Awards were presented by Souhegan Chamber executive director Wendy Hunt, and by Becky Tripp, chairman, to Nick Calvetti, Amherst Label, in Milford, (Business Leader of the Year); Bangor Savings Bank, with locations in Maine and NH, (Business of the Year); The Dance Company, in Amherst, (Small Business of the Year); Touchstone Farm, in Temple, (Non-profit of the Year); Papa Joe’s Humble Kitchen, in Milford, (Volunteer of the Year); and Amy Conley, Amy Conley Music, in Milford, (Sole Proprietor of the Year).

Following the night’s theme of, “A River Runs Through It,” the evening’s toast was offered by Dr. Drew Wilson, of Family Dental Care of Milford.

Quoting author James Watkins, Wilson said, “A river runs through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”

Keynote speaker Wendell Davis, regional director of the United States Small Business Association, marked the occasion by thanking veterans for their service and speaking on the eve of the anniversary of “D-Day.”

“Can you imagine what was going through the minds of those young soldiers, as they ran down the beaches of Normandy and throughout France. We have a duty as a nation to remember the price of our freedom so thank you again for your service.”

Davis recalled watching a television program, where as a three-year-old, a man told about he and his brother being told that their father had gone missing in action.

“The date was November 2nd, 1950, said Davis. “Here we was in the interview, holding the dog tags from his dad almost 70 years later. They made their way back to the United States in one of the 55 boxes that were repatriated from North Korea last summer.”

Davis said while we’re busy going to work and operating our businesses and going home to our families, a search for each individual soldier missing in action goes on every day.

“In this elevation of the individual, is in many ways, unique to the U.S. military, when you compare it to the military traditions of other countries. But it’s also a part of our broad society, and specifically, our entrepreneurial community. This didn’t happen by accident. It was imbedded in the minds of our founding fathers and also our founding documents.”

Davis further reflected on the Declaration of Independence, and on our right to life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“Our founding documents did not define what happiness should look like” he said. “They allow each individual to pursue a personal vision. When you think about it, this recognition had a simple, individual, some would argue, selfish pursuit – as an inalienable right -it’s truly breathtaking.”