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Holiday Heroes Luncheon honors GVCC Ambassadors

GVCC luncheon picThe Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) Holiday Heroes Luncheon, the annual celebration to honor the 25 GVCC volunteer Ambassadors, took place Dec. 1 at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver.

Another holiday hero – the featured nonprofit – the Police Activities League (PAL), partnered with an on-site Scholastic Book Fair for donations to the PAL Literacy Program. Officer Tyler Chavers was the program’s representative and hero in attendance.

PAL of Vancouver is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to providing programs and services for youth and building healthy relationships between kids, cops and the community. The program introduces cops and free books into schools, giving kids the opportunity to read with the officers.

The event started with an informal lively social mixer, fun photos with Santa from David Fisher of Firehouse Foto and raffle tickets for the 49 donated gift baskets from members, plus shopping the on-site Scholastic Book Fair for PAL. The festivities were kicked off with some rousing words from the president of the GVCC, John McDonagh. The Ambassadors were introduced by the Ambassador Coordinator Barb Holbrook and each was given a gift of appreciation. Referred to as the “Red Coats,” they serve as the welcoming committee for the GVCC, provide mentorship to new members, and assist with events and activities.

The Heathman luncheon, provided by Chef Ray Delgado, started with a wonderful salad and hot rolls, followed by a cheese-filled Fiocchi (purse) pasta with a creamy eggnog-like sauce, sprinkled with bits of cranberries, hazelnuts and caramelized pear, and a choice of two delicious desserts. There were three rounds of basket giveaways; at the end, the winning number was drawn for the Grand Prize, sponsored by Columbia Bank and Pacific Continental, which was four tickets to the Disneyland Theme Parks, with $450 toward air fare. Each gift basket was introduced with a written message from its donor, like the Simple Pleasures Events basket of wine and goodies: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, but if the white runs out, I’ll drink the red.”

The Ambassador Awards, for service and leadership, were announced at the end. The 2017 Rookie of the Year went to Wendel Family Dental Centre’s Harold Faires, a “Red” since 2016. The 2017 Wally Hornberger Ambassador of the Year Award went to Global Security’s Leroy Santiago, a “Red” since 2009. The Ambassador of the Year Award was renamed the Wally Hornberger Award in 2012, as Wally was one of the original Ambassadors from the 1985 team, a man who exemplified the best characteristics of an Ambassador: friend, mentor and community advocate. The Ambassadors of the Year are chosen by their attendance at events; volunteer contributions at events; mentoring new Chamber members; Ambassador Coordinator review; and finally, by a vote of their Ambassador peers.

The Holiday Heroes luncheon raised more than $400 in books for PAL. The Luncheon was sponsored by the ilani Resort & Casino; the carol singing was provided by Yvonne Payne of Ebony Notes and Leroy Santiago; and a 2017 commemorative holiday ornament (sponsored by Comcast) was given to all attendees as a thank you for their support.

Those who attended the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Holiday Heroes Luncheon were able to enjoy an afternoon of festive activities and fun.