Crossroads Chamber of Commerce Becomes “Best Gin Joint In Region” for Annual Gala at Avalon Manor - November 18, 2017

Courtesy of • November 18, 2017

By Dan Petreikis

The Crossroads Chamber of Commerce proved once more that they can not only help to drive local economic growth and recognize persons of significant distinction in the region – they can throw a pretty mean party, too.

Continuing the culture of growth and unification that they have strived for since the 2009 merger of the Greater Crown Point Chamber of Commerce and Merrillville Chamber of Commerce, Tonight’s annual gala event saw a packed house fill the seats at Avalon Manor, with more than 500 guests gathering to represent over 100 local businesses. This year’s event featured a silent auction, a full-service bar, dinner and dancing to live music.

“This is the social event of the season. It’s our opportunity as a chamber to give back to the community,” said Sue Reed, Crossroads President and CEO. “This evening, we will be recognizing the Policeman of the Year, Firefighter of the Year, Inspiring Educators of the Year and we will also be making financial donations to the education foundations of Merrillville and Crown Point.”

A long-standing event, the gala was typically held each year at the Radisson, but due to recent renovations underway at that venue, this year’s gala was moved to the Avalon Manor. As usual, each year features a special theme which carries throughout the evening and inspires guests to dress in character. The theme of this year’s gala was Casablanca – The Best Gin Joint in the Region.

“Events like this are fun to come to,” said Jillian Dammarell, special education teacher at Winfield Elementary School who was enjoying her first time at the gala. “They present a tremendous benefit to the area by bringing two communities together, allowing them to share their virtues with each other to build a stronger overall community.”

Kim Hasse O’Halloran, Director of Business Development for Hasse Construction Company was very proud to have a member of her company nominated for this year’s Athena Award.

“We absolutely love events like this,” said O’Halloran. “It’s great that we can get together with so many different members of the community and share in an event like this. We get to meet with and talk to several different charity organizations and we are especially honored that one of our colleagues has been nominated for the Athena Award.That is such an amazing honor. It promotes and recognized female leadership in the community as well as leadership throughout the region and to have one of our own nominated is just tremendous.”

Among this year’s award winners were Andrew Jurczak, winner of Crown Point Inspiring Educator of the Year, Rachel Brazil for Merrillville Community School Corporation Inspiring Educator of the Year and Angela Long for Porter Township School Corporation Inspiring Educator of the Year. Recognized as City of Crown Point Firefighter of the Year was Chief Greg DeLor, who has served since 1977, was promoted to Chief in 2001 and is now looking forward to his retirement. Chris Spisak took honors as Town of Merrillville Firefighter of the Year.

Receiving the City of Crown Point Police Officer of the Year was Corporal Bob Ballas, who was joined by Seargent Luther Cuttino, who received the Town of Merrillville Police Officer of the Year Award.

Topping off the evening’s awards ceremony was the presentation of the 2018 Athena Award, sponsored by First Midwest Bank. This year’s Athena award recipient was Dr. Marsha King, Dean of the Crown Point Campus of University of St. Francis.

As the night wound down and the band played on, guests agreed that – with the strong bond forged in this land of steel – the continued growth and prosperity experienced as a unified community points to a very bright future indeed.

Featured Sponsors:
Presenting Sponsor – Franciscan Health
Entertainment Sponsor – IBEW Local 697
Athena Sponsor – First Midwest Bank
Wine Sponsor – Holladay Properties
Centerpiece Sponsor – Belvedere Senior Housing

Titanium Sponsors:
Best Servers LLC
Pipefitters Local 597
Methodist Hospitals

Platinum Sponsors:
ABCO General Contractors
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Calumet Park Cemetery, Inc
Centier Bank
City of Crown Point
Diversified Marketing Strategies, Inc
Dyer Construction Company
Indiana American Water Co.
Lake shore Public Media
McColly Communities
Modern Forge Indiana, LLC
Polycon Industries
Robinson Engineering
Times Media Company
Town of Merrillville
Town of Merrillville Police Department
TradeWinds Services, Inc

Gold Sponsors:
Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP
Comcast Spotlight
Commercial In-Sites, LLC
IOTG – A Xerox Company
McShane’s, Inc
Shady Creek Winery

Bronze Sponsors:
Avalon Springs Health Campus
BMO Harris Bank N.A.
Bryco Services, Inc
Epic Limo, Inc
First Merchants Bank
First Savings Bank of Hegewisch
Franciscan Communities at St. Anthony Campus
Generate Sales & Marketing
Hasse Construction
Hicko CPA Group
Horizon Bank
Liss CARSTAR Collision
Markey’s Rental & Staging
Members Source Credit Union
Metro Recycling
Peoples Bank
Purdue Technology Center of NWI
Superior Ambulance Service
Valley Fire Protection Systems