A longtime business owner, a cancer survivor, a volunteer firefighter and the first female brigadier general of the Delaware Air National Guard have been named the Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce's 2014 Hometown Heroes.
Each of the four honorees will be recognized March 6 at the Sixth-Annual Meet the Pros and Taste of MOT Spring Expo, the local chamber of commerce's premier event for showcasing businesses and organizations in the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area.
"Each year, the organizing committee selects a new theme for the expo and this year we chose Hometown Heroes," said Sital Soni, who has spearheaded the expo since it was founded in 2008. "There are so many people in our community who do great things and the expo just seemed like the perfect opportunity to highlight and honor a few of those individuals and the organizations they represent."
The Hometown Heroes honorees include:
- Dean Hatton: The owner of the W.D. Hatton Watch, Clock and Jewelry Repairs at 19 W. Main St. in Middletown. A U.S. Navy veteran, Hatton is the longest-standing member of the 42-year-old Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce;
- Carla Briccotto, a cancer survivor and volunteer organizer for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life in Middletown, Making Strides Walk in Wilmington and numerous other community fundraisers and cancer awareness events;
- Brian Eide, Townsend Fire Company's 2012 Firefighter of the Year, and;
- Brig. Gen. Carol Timmons, the first female general in the history of the Delaware National Guard, a Bronze Star recipient and a member of the Delaware Women's Hall of Fame and Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame.
"Personally, I think this it's just a wonderful accolade to even be considered along with this group of prestigious men and women," said Briccotto, who last year was named a Hometown Hero by the American Cancer Society of Delaware. "There are so many wonderful people in the M.O.T. area who do so much for the community. It's a true honor to be recognized in this way."
In addition to Hometown Heroes, the chamber will also honor Hometown Professionals, including Shane O'Neill, owner of Infamous Tattoo at 26 W. Main St. in Middletown and the winner of the first season of Spike TV's "Ink Master."
Soni said additional Hometown Professionals could be added in the coming weeks.
"Our business community members are experts in their fields and we want to recognize them so the community knows who they can reach out to for their business and personal needs," she said.
This year's Spring Expo will be held at the Townsend Fire Hall at 107 Main St. in Townsend, a move from the last two years when it was held at St. Anne's Episcopal School in Middletown.
Page 2 of 2 - Chamber executive director Roxane Ferguson said the move was needed to accommodate the expo's expansion to 90 vendors this year, including dozens of area restaurants and beverage companies that will be offering free samples of their wares.
The Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce will be recognizing more local business owners and residents at its 42nd Annual Gala Dinner at Odessa Fire Hall on Jan. 24.
The four-hour event, which begins at 6:30 p.m., will include presentations of the chamber's annual business, citizen, ambassador and board member of the year.
Tickets to the Gala Dinner are $75 for chamber members and $85 for non-members and include dinner, an open bar and live music by Club Phred.
More information about the Jan. 24 dinner and March 6 Spring Expo can be found at the chamber's website, www.maccde.com.