Thursday, June 3, 2010

Paul Bartley award brings proud memories

The 31st annual Manatee Small Business of the Year Awards Luncheon wrapped up just about an hour ago at the Renaissance on 9th, and it was filled with reminders of how much members of this community support each other.

The event, co-sponsored by the chamber and the Herald, also was filled with talk about finding new ways to survive the economic hardships plaguing everyone. Almost without exception, acceptance speeches were framed by talk of survival. The key? Focusing on people, family and being part of the community. (Here's a list of all the finalists.)

My favorite award, though, is the Paul Bartley Community Award. Named after our dearly beloved ombudsman, photographer, humanitarian and long-time Herald staffer, the award honors one small business that goes above and beyond their community service. They are chosen, the chamber states, based on their corporate contributions to the community and volunteer work, "a shining example to all businesses."

In his introductory remarks to announce the winner, John Vita made us proud to have known Paul Bartley:

Today's winning company exemplified the many attributes of Paul Bartley. A hard worker, includes the customer in the business, grew up in the business, a community servant, very professional, knowledgeable, courteous, troubleshooter, stands behind their work.

As Gator Plumbing's Bill Smock headed toward the stage, Paul Bartley was surely watching on, sending the winner his hearty congratulations. Here's to many, many more recipients of this award.

Paul Bartley throws beads in the 2005 Children's Parade.

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