Chincoteague, VA-May 22, 2018: The Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Awards Luncheon at AJ’s on the Creek on May 22 to recognize and honor the 2018 John White Shields Citizen of the Year and Leonard “Buddy” Burton Business Person of the Year. The event was sponsored by H&H Pharmacy, Maui Jack’s Waterpark, and Sentinel Robotics Solutions. The highlight of the event is always the recognition of the Citizen and Business Person of the Year as chosen by a committee appointed by the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Denise & Ritchie Conklin, known affectionately as Mister & Mrs. Whippy, were honored as the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce 2018 Outstanding Business Persons of the Year. In 1991, the Conklin family purchased the Dari Dream, a small ice cream shop from Lee Savage, and changed the name to Mister Whippy. Richard Jr. built the new shop on Maddox Boulevard in 1997. Their generous community involvement includes donations to Manna Café, North Accomack Little League, and numerous school events and functions. Ice cream treats, coffees, and now doughnuts keep island residents and visitors smiling.

Bill Spann was chosen Citizen of the Year for his far-reaching contributions to area non-profit organizations, namely the Chincoteague Island Family YMCA and the Museum of Chincoteague Island. He was recognized for his visionary ideas for the local YMCA in finding its permanent home, developing a volunteer program, and partnering with other organizations. Bill’s involvement with the Museum of Chincoteague Island includes developing new fundraisers and programs to increase visitation to the museum. Bill was instrumental in building Heritage weekend, the Road Scholar program, and the Oral History library in conjunction with the Chincoteague Island Library. “His moral and ethical standards are exemplary” according to the nomination form that was submitted.

Mary Alice Birch was thanked for her years of service to the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce as President of the Board 2014-2018. She remains on the board as Treasurer.

Chincoteague Combined School Band Director Troy Outten was presented with a check from the chamber as the recipient of the Easter Decoy & Art Festival silent auction of Pre-loved Treasures. “The much needed funds will be used to purchase band equipment, possibly a cello”, said Mr. Outten.

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