The Chamber honored our community's military personnel at the 2014 Military Appreciation Banquet on Tuesday night, presented by Bright House Networks. More than 400 attendees were in attendance, including leadership from all five service branches.
Vice Admiral Mark Fox, Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command gave an inspirational speech on the relationship between Tampa and our servicemen and women. Admiral Fox mentioned how the military has had a presence in Tampa since before the city was founded, when Fort Brooke was established here in the 1820's. From Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, the Gulf War and the growth of MacDill in the present day, Tampa and the military community continue to grow together in support of our nation.
This is a long standing event in which the Chamber has recognized our local military personnel for outstanding contributions to the greater good of the Tampa Bay community. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for the event photos!
The 2014 winners included:
|Army Officer of the Year||Chaplain (Colonel) Paul Willis|
|Air Force Officer of the Year||Captain Thomas Waters|
|Navy Officer of the Year||Lieutenant Commander Lori G. Emery|
|Coast Guard Officer of the Year||Lieutenant Drew Sonetirot|
|Army Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year||Master Sergeant Valerie A. Ellis|
|Marine Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year||Gunnery Sergeant Laci Spencer|
|Navy Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year||Petty Officer 1 Tamika A. Simmons|
|Air Force Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year||Staff Sergeant Joshua Dirr|
|Coast Guard Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year||Aviation Technician First Class Crystal L. Bastien|
|Reserve Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year||Staff Sergeant William Mitchell|
|Department of Defense Employee of the Year||Sheila M. Woodruff|
|University of South Florida ROTC Cadet of the Year||Midshipman Crystal Artreche|
|University of Tampa ROTC Cadet of the Year||Cadet Christopher Rineer|
|Business Partner of the Year||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Military Affairs Council Bob Cutler Volunteer Award||Robert Silah|