By Suzy Wiesenhart
At the Riverview Chamber’s annual dinner, held in January, at the Independent Showmen’s Association in Riverview, Ed Booth, 2012 President of the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce passed down the gavel to Donna Lee Fore, the new 2013 President. Fore, looking at Booth’s 6’8” stature and glancing down at his feet jokingly said, “I’ve definitely got some big shoes to fill.”
Fore agreed to uphold the chamber’s 47-year-old tradition of supporting the community and the businesses that serve it. She would like to see the chamber focus not only on supporting community businesses, but also improve its benefits to the community. She wants to establish an economic development committee to forge stronger relationships with Hillsborough County government and wants the chamber to provide more support for the growing military population as well as Riverview’s veterans.
Fore, who co-owns P. F. Auto Glass, Inc. with her husband, Pat, and is an independent Mary Kay Cosmetics consultant, has her hand in many activities. Last year, along with friend, Jeanne Burkeson, she founded the Riverview Woman’s Club. She belongs to other chambers, chairs many events and has served on the Riverview board of directors since 2009.
County Commissioner, Al Higginbotham presented Jill Andrew, executive director of Superior Residences of Brandon, with a well-deserved certificate of achievement for her personal commitment to the community, is played his eagerness to build a stronger relationship with county government.
Guest speaker, former Hillsborough County School Superintendent and former Supervisor of Elections, Earl Lennard, spoke about the growth of the community his grandfather helped pioneer. Lennard presented a history lesson about the community, noting that Riverview, once known as Peru after the Peruvian Mining Company that mined phosphate in the area, was founded in 1885. One-hundred and twenty-five years later, its population had grown to 71,000 people.
“Not only is the once-struggling chamber now in the black,” said Booth of Huth & Booth Photography, as he gave his departure speech, “but a membership drive netted 252 new members this year.” The chamber honored the community’s top 33 teachers at a Teacher of the Year celebration, welcomed 300 new teachers to Hillsborough County at its annual New Teacher Welcome Breakfast, raised funds for charity through a successful Riverview Honorary Mayor’s Race and attracted 8,600 people to what has become the chamber’s most popular event, Trick or Treat Street.
More good news from the chamber’s executive director, Tanya Doran, as she responded to a survey from Money Magazine asking for nominations for America’s best small cities. “In August,” said Doran, “Money Magazine released its list of the top 100, with Riverview ranking 65.”
Sporting cowboy hats and boots, 250 Riverview chamber members enjoyed a barbecue dinner by Lupton’s Catering, the Clik-Me-Quik Photo Booth and a “Mining for Gold” activity hosted by West Coast Jewelry Consultants, featuring a beautiful diamond necklace valued at $2,500, and won by Angie Frazier of Canine Cabana.
The 2013 Honorary Mayor of Riverview, Elijah Heath, of Edward Jones Investments was formally introduced to the members to start the award ceremonies. The awards were presented as follows: 2012 Ambassador of the Year Award winner Joe Eletto, Century 21 Beggins; 2012 Margy Watkins Volunteer of the Year Award winner Alison Farnan, Grimebusters Pressure Cleaning and Clik-Me-Quik Photo Booth; 2012 Shining Star Award winner Randy Ramos, Riverview Plumbing; 2012 Business Person of the Year Award winner Lisa Kennedy, Alley Cat Pest Control; 2012 Business of the Year Award winner Hess Orthodontics; 2012 Riverview Citizen of the Year Award winner Dr. Bryan Thatcher. The Osprey Observer was nominated as Business of the Year, and wants to congratulate Hess Orthodontics for winning the award.