The Greater Ishpeming Negaunee Chamber of Commerce continues to represent the strong business community in the west end of Marquette County. The group marked two years of growth with the 2nd Annual Member Dinner Saturday evening at the Wawonowin Country Club in Champion. The GINCC also honored Ishpeming Eric Dompierre with a special proclamation.
The GINCC was established in 2010 and has added 100 member businesses in the past year, for a total tally of 224.
Executive Director Elizabeth Peterson thanked the member businesses for the trust they put in her, and her assistant Kate Annala. GINCC Board President Dr. Bruce Turino expressed appreciation to the chamber staff. Turino also thanked new and existing business owners for their continuing dedication to the area.
A number of awards were presented, including Small Business of the Year (Meyer Family Vision); Business of the Year (Fox Negaunee); Business Person of the Year (Rosemarie Strom of Main Street School of Cosmetology); Volunteer of the Year (Ed Anderson accepted on behalf of the Ishpeming Volunteer Fire Department); President’s Choice Award (Stonehouse Window and Door); Chamber Member of the Year (Carpet Specialist.)
In addition to a performance by the popular strong quartet Eclettico, board members were recognized for their efforts, a silent and a live auction was held to raise money for the chamber, and a special recognition was given to featured speaker Eric Dompierre.
Eric was lauded for his courage and determination as he and his family led a much publicized battle against the Michigan High School Athletic Association. He talked about the effort as it went viral. People from across the globe signed an online petition aimed at getting the MHSAA to let Eric play sports during his senior year. A long-standing MSHAA rule said high school athletes are not eligible to play after they reach 19 years of age. Dompiere, who has Down Syndrome, was granted a waiver to play during his senior year. He is currently part of the Ishpeming Hematite varsity football team and plans to play basketball during the 2012-2013 season.
In his speech to the GINCC members, Eric said he appreciated all the efforts people went to that made the MSHAA waiver possible. And, he pointed out that it wasn’t just for himself: a downstate girl also was given a waiver that lets her participate on the track and field team.
At the conclusion of Eric’s speech, he received a standing ovation. Additionally, October 18th was proclaimed “Eric Dompierre Day” in the city of Ishpeming by Ishpeming Mayor Pat Scanlon.