The Western Sussex Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Leadership dinner and auction took place recently at the Seaford Fire Hall. This year’s honorees including Linda Gunson, Sharon Harrington, Alan Cranston, Greg Johnson, John and Linda Hollis, and Lynn Harman.
Gunson was a repeat recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award. Her brother, Jay Milligan, who accepted the award on her behalf, said of Gunson: “When you give Linda a task it’s done before it’s due and you never have to worry about the quality of work because she sets the bar above everybody else.”
Harrington received the Citizen/Community Member of the Year Award. Lynne Betts said Harrington has a servant mindset. “Sharon Harrington consistently goes above and beyond the course and often does so behind the scenes,” she added.
“When I came to this community 10 years ago I came here for a job. I didn’t know what kind of a blessing I was going to get. When I came to this community I really fell in love with it,” said Harrington. “I don’t think I could ever give to you what you’ve given to me.”
Cranston won the Chamber’s Blazing New Trails Award. Chamber President Kevin Christophel called Cranston, the owner of Every Fibre Coffee, an innovative thinker who has a creative spirit.
Cranston’s motto is: “Tell me that it can’t be done and get out of my way and watch me do it.”
“I’ve spend my entire career hiding behind the sense and avoiding anything like this,” said Cranston, who wanted to make his business something to enjoy while making Seaford a better place. “You can’t move a mountain by asking it nicely. Moving a mountain takes work. It takes resolve. I have a vision of Seaford’s future, I see a renaissance, but it takes more than a vision, it takes work.”
Greg Johnson received the Business Person of the Year Award. “He can regularly be found in the service of others,” Christopher said of Johnson, who is a lifelong Rotarian and a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Sussex Tech boards. “Great leaders don’t tell you what to do, they show you what can be done.”
Johnson has 10 grandchildren and said, “There’s no better role in my life than being Pop Pop.”
The inaugural John and Linda Hollis Legacy Award went to its namesakes. The couple has been married for 50 year. Johns started the MERIT program 46 years ago and was instrumental in bringing the Boys and Girls Club to Seaford. He is also involved with the Home of Hope in Bridgeville, among other things.
Linda can be found at the food bank on a regular basis and has a long history with the Soroptimist program.
“These two individuals built a legacy of we, not me,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terry Carson said.
“This award is all related to team work,” said Linda Hollis, who along with her husband, grew up in Seaford, attended Seaford schools, raised a family in Seaford, and worked in Seaford.
“I think they (all of the night’s award recipients) will all agree it was a we thing not an I thing,” John Hollis added.
Harman, who resigned as the Chamber’s Executive Director earlier this year to focus on her business, was honored for her years of dedicated service to the Chamber and its members.
“I truly know what it means to have a team and to have teamwork,” Harman said, dedicating the night to her late friend Cathy Dickerson. “You always taught me what it meant to be positive and keep smiling and doing what you’re supposed to do.”
Following the presentation of the awards, Senator Bryant Richardson, Rep. Danny Short, Sussex County Council President Mike Vincent, Seaford Mayor David Genshaw, and Matt Parker (on behalf of the town of Laurel) presented tributes to the award winners.
“They used their God given skills for the benefit of the community,” Richardson said of the recipients.
“To see this group of people from all of western Sussex, which is a hidden gem, all together is just exciting,” added Parker.