On Thursday, December 13th, the Wayland Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual Chamber Awards Gala at Bay Pointe Inn & Lakefront Resort. The purpose of this event is to recognize chamber members for outstanding service in one of three areas, Business of the Year, Community Service and Presidents Choice. Dave Engbers, Co-Founder of Founder’s Brewing Company was this year’s speaker and gave an engaging presentation on his journey from having a dream to selling his beer in over 40 countries.

Business of the Year Award – Fusion Fitness

The Chamber recognizes that the business that demonstrates growth and success through innovation, hard work, and exceptional customer service. The business is actively involved in contributing to the success of the community as a whole by their contribution of time, energy, and resources.

This year’s Business of the Year award was Fusion Fitness. Fusion Fitness was a dream that started approximately five years ago by friends Jason Hancock and Chad VanVolkinburg when they discussed starting a business that could make a difference in other people’s lives. They wanted to focus on community members and the results the members wanted – not the money the business could bring in.

Fusion Fitness recognizes those who protect and serve our communities by providing discounts to those serving our country, law enforcement officers and fire fighters.  They have also helped other charities in the community by having exercise class fundraisers and setting aside 10% of new member payments for a toy fund for local children in need during the month of November.

Fusion Fitness opened their doors in April of 2017 with a goal of 250 members. Today they have far exceeded their goal with 592 active members.

Another event that they feel strongly about supporting is the Chamber Ambassadors Annual #JustSayThanks Law Enforcement Appreciation Campaign held by the Wayland Area Chamber Ambassadors.

To accept the Business of the Year Award from Fusion Fitness was co-owner Jason Hancock.

Community Service Award – The Chamber Ambassadors

The Chamber recognizes this person for performing outstanding service to the Wayland area. Chamber Executive Director, Denise Behm was pleased to announce The Wayland Chamber Ambassadors as the 2018 recipient of the Community Service Award.

The Chamber Ambassadors go above and beyond for the #JustSayThanks Law Enforcement Appreciation Campaign. The campaign started in 2016 when many of our law enforcement were being unfairly scrutinized for doing their jobs – protecting and serving our communities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

After putting some thought into it, Behm stated she knew the perfect group to help show thanks and appreciation to those who serve – The Chamber Ambassadors.  “I brought the idea of the #JustSayThanks Campaign to an Ambassador Committee meeting and the Ambassadors unanimously agreed that the campaign was something needed and would make a difference not just in our community, but the surrounding communities and beyond,” stated Behm.

The campaign takes place annually during the month of May, which was chosen because May 15th is Peace Officers Memorial Day and that week is Police Appreciation Week. At the end of each May, West Michigan restaurants, bakeries and delis donate food and we hold a dinner that all West Michigan law enforcement – retired and active, as well as their families who are invited to attend for no charge. For officers unable to attend, or stay to eat, there are take-out containers for their fellow officers or family to take them. Local gift cards are given away to the officers that attend as a show of thanks.

“Words cannot express how thankful I am for the Chamber Ambassadors and the time they so generously give to ensure this campaign and dinner go off meticulously,” stated Behm.

The #JustSayThanks Community Service Awards were accepted by; Burrell Stein, Rose Ann Wendt, David Hart, Michael Behm, Ingrid Miller, Jennifer Antel and honorary Ambassador Karyn Boyd. Ambassadors unable to attend were Amanda Genther, Jennifer Osentoski and Shannon Schram.

President’s Choice Award – Sensory Systems Clinic West

The President of the Chamber looks at an area business, organization, or person that demonstrates outstanding leadership in bringing others together in the process of developing, sharing, and moving into a shared vision. The nominee would be an example of leading the way while setting and achieving predetermined goals.

This year’s recipient was Peggy McCourry, owner of Sensory Systems Clinic West. According to Chamber President Kara Vugteveen, “Peggy is as humble as she is giving. She has a heart for helping others in need – especially children.”

McCourry spends countless hours organizing parent groups that support parents of special needs children, boys and girls small group nights that include social/active play, positive interactions and planning/leadership opportunities at her downtown Wayland clinic.

She also volunteers with the Wayland Kiwanis and helps organize the popular Kiwanis Kids Day.

In addition, McCourry is actively involved with the Wayland Toastmasters Group. She has also volunteered her time with the Wayland Main Street and Henika District Library.

In addition, Sensory Systems Clinic West is an integral part of the chamber supporting the annual Chamber Whitecaps Night, #JustSayThanks law enforcement appreciation campaign, annual golf outing, the annual community expo and annual community directory.

Graciously receiving the award on behalf of Sensory Systems Clinic West was owner Peggy McCourry who expressed her gratitude and thanks on behalf of her business.

The Chamber is proud of all award recipients who support not only the Chamber, but many other organizations that help make Wayland a better place to live, work, and do business.

Author: Denise Behm

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