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Meredith Chamber celebrates accomplishments

Chuck Palm receives Citizenship Award

Meredith Altrusa President Betsey Raffaele and Treasurer Hilda Schmidt accept the Civic Project Award. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
October 27, 2010
MEREDITH — Honors and celebration marked the Meredith Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting.

Chamber members and supporters gathered at Hart's Turkey Farm on Thursday for dinner and an update on the year.

Given the state of the economy, the Chamber worked hard to maintain its membership and promote itself without raising costs. Ultimately all these moves paid off.

"2010 has certainly been a year filled with challenges for most businesses," said Chamber president Bill Blanchette. Blanchette said the Chamber decided last year that "maintaining membership would be our goal and that would be a very difficult task considering how tough (the economy was)."

The Chamber had to decide between saving money or spending money for promotions, choosing the latter.

Projects included updating the website to offer greater communication tools between members and the Chamber. A new sign was put up at the Meredith town docks and the info booth on the Center Harbor/Moultonboro Town Line was also renovated. The Chamber kept up its sponsorship of the Fine Arts and Crafts Festival and continued to support community service clubs.

At the same time the Chamber has not increased its dues in over seven years.

"And yes we have ended every year in the black," Blanchette said. "We have positioned the chamber well for the future."

The Chamber only saw a 5 percent drop in membership, which Blanchette said reflects the strong efforts of the staff. Blanchette thanked the Chamber staff personally for all their hard work.

"We have a board that works extremely well together," said Executive Director Sue Cerutti. "When all is said and done at the end of the meeting they all come out in agreement."

The Citizenship Award went to Chuck Palm for his work in community services and efforts for the town. Palm was recognized for his work as owner of Harbor Hill Camping Area with his wife Barbara, and as Interim Town Manager, Fire Chief, and most recently Selectman. Palm was also recognized for his community work with the Greater Meredith Program, distributing brochures for the Chamber, among other accomplishments.

"He's a quick study who grasps facts and figures and reduces them to useful conclusions," Blanchette said. "He is the strong quiet type known for his positive thoughts and taking opportunities to help those in need. He would prefer to take action and let others be recognized."

Selectman Peter Brothers accepted the award on behalf of Palm, who was unable to attend for health reasons.

"Chuck is a gracious guy, I've learned a lot from him," Brothers said. Of Chuck and Barbara Palm, "They truly are a team and I will make sure that he gets this and it's delivered with the spirit in which it was given."

The Special Recognition Award went to the Towle House, a colonial home that has become a location for retail businesses.

David Ames said he had taken an interest in the house when he was a child. He later partnered with Brian Allen to purchase and renovate the building.

"It's been a lot of work, it's still a lot more work but it's still a great project," Ames said.

Meredith Altrusa received the Civic Project Award for their many activities in the community and work with many local organizations such as its literacy program, assistance to the Meredith Public Library, assisting fire victims and outreach to the community through the Festival of Trees and the Community Yard Sale, among many others.

"I am so grateful to be part of the community where so many people network and are involved in so many different organizations," said Altrusa Treasurer Hilda Schmidt, who accepted the award with President Betsy Raffaele.

Inter-Lakes Medical Center received the Community Pride award for its massive renovation and rebuilding effort. As a result, the center provides new amenities and services for patients.

"At the recent open house, Judy Reever, LRGH President said that while the medical staff has always been top notch, not they have a top notch facility in which to practice," Blanchette said in his presenting speech.

LRGHealthcare President and CEO Tom Clairemont accepted the award with Coleen Nolan, APRA, and Drs. Christopher FitzMorris and Ted Capron.

Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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