Pictured from left to right: Hunt Addison, Paige Addison, Pete Henderson, Susie Henderson.

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce celebrated their 69th year yesterday evening in front of a sold-out crowd of businesses and community members.  The venue for this year’s meeting was the Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club.

During the evenings opening welcome, Executive Director, Robert Sabbatini thanked the Board of Directors for their hard work and dedication throughout the year.  “The Board of Directors leadership and guidance has been invaluable to the ESVA Chamber of Commerce” remarked Sabbatini.  Jennifer Annis took the lead of swearing in new Board members- Deborah Cooley, J.T. Holland, Phil Custis, Matt Clay, Jerry Sink, Bill Floyd, David Fluhart, and Tom Mapp.  Sandra Johnson presented outgoing Board members- George Bryan, Andre Elliott, and Jeannette Edwards for their unwavering support during their tenure.  Outgoing Chairman of the ESVA Chamber of Commerce, Will Russell, stated that “the ESVA Chamber of Commerce was always ready to roll up its sleeves and get to work.”  The crowd acknowledged with long applause. 

Robert S. Bloxom, Jr was presented the 2022 Chairman’s Award by Will Russell.  Russell stated, that “Bloxom owned and operated four businesses with one recently celebrating 100 years in business.”  Russell further stated that “Rob Bloxom has devoted his life to being a small business owner and civil servant to the Eastern Shore. And while this award is not because of his service in Richmond, the fact that he is a small business owner has led to generational investments in our area including the Hampton Roads Sanitation District coming here, and very hopefully soon a natural gas pipeline. These two investments alone will be major improvements for the business climate, both for large and small operations.” Bloxom’s son, Brant Bloxom, was on hand to accept the award in lieu of his father. 

Jeannette Edwards received the coveted Distinguished Service award for her tireless service to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  Russell commented that “Jeanette and Tony built Edwards Seafood from scratch, at one time boasting a very successful restaurant, which always had the cream of the Shore’s high school kids working there, which they recently sold last year, to my great joy, to another local married couple.”  Russell further stated that “Jeannette in many ways has been a mentor to me. Someone I had to call on several occasions and simply to ask, what in the world do we do now?”

John W. Morrison was presented the 2022 Chairman’s Award by Ashley Morrison and Eileen Lee.  More affectionately referred to as “Johnny Mo, the musical chef,” is a strong supporter of the Food Bank, Onancock Fire Department, ESVA Chamber of Commerce, Local and State Police Departments, and all branches of the military.  Johnny Mo thanked the group with a very heart felt speech after receiving the award.

Pictured from left to right Tim Morrison, Ashley Morrison, John Morrison, Debbie Morrison, Jamie Morrison, Johnny Mo Morrison, JC Morrison.

Tony Robinson and Jahiem Fisher of Wave Riders received the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.  Tony and Jahiem recently celebrated their second year in business and are ready to expand.  The duo handles a broad range of transportation services, and their positive attitude is contagious. 

Hunt Addison and Pete Henderson of Eastern Shore Events and Rentals were presented with the Small Business Person of the Year Award.  Presenting the award was Will Russell.  Russell stated “Their professionalism is unmatched when conducting their business.  Hunt and Pete have shown remarkable initiative, spirit, and resilience in not only starting a local event rental company from scratch, but persevering through the most difficult stretch for the industry in our lifetime.”

A new slate of Board leadership will take the helm starting in July.  Ace Seybolt will chair the Board for the ESVA Chamber of Commerce while giving his first message to the audience.  Seybolt’s message was very well received by all and the excitement for the ESVA Chamber of Commerce, its businesses, and communities will continue for many years.