While hosting its annual board nominations meeting, members of the Valrico Chamber of Commerce enjoyed a visit by special guest State Attorney General, Pam Bondi.

Bondi’s brief visit to the chamber’s meeting held at the FishHawk Palmetto Club came on the heels of a stop at Newsome High School earlier that same morning, where the attorney general passionately addressed close to 600 Seniors about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Bondi was accompanied by Matthew Durrell with whom she has developed a unique friendship and a passion for preventing drinking and driving. Bondi prosecuted Durrell in 1996, putting the then 18-year-old in prison for 20 years for killing three of his friends while he was driving intoxicated. Switching gears just minutes up the road from the school, Bondi enjoyed another warm welcome by a much-smaller audience led by Valrico FishHawk Chamber of Commerce president, Michael Holmes, who presented the Florida attorney general with an honorary chamber membership.

“Miss Bondi is just one of many guests the Valrico FishHawk Chamber has been able to bring to its members this year,” Holmes said.

Bondi took a few minutes highlighting some of the bigger issues she is working on such as Medicaid, flood insurance fraud, human trafficking and not to mention her efforts to crack down on the use of dangerous synthetic drugs like K2, also known as Spice, which is so prevalent among young people today. Pleased with the visit, Holmes emphasized that the Chamber wants to be part of the inevitable changes that the growth of the community will demand. Coming up on its one-year anniversary, the Chamber hopes to reach its 100th member milestone by January 2014, not to mention its growth plans for the upcoming year, which includes the FishHawk Area Networking Group (FANG) and its plan to merge with the Chamber. “We are really excited about the opportunities this presents to FANG members, Chamber members and the mutual goals that we individually have set for our small businesses and community,” Holmes said.  “As always, our primary goals are to push the needle for our small business and to protect the community.”

Looking ahead to 2014 and expecting a phenomenal year for growth, the Chamber hopes to be visible in the community, providing opportunities and services to its members.

For more information about the Valrico FishHawk Chamber of Commerce, please visit www.valricofishhawk.org.


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Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.