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ESVA Chamber holds annual Dinner; recognizes business and community leaders – Shore Daily News

Pictured from left to right: 2021 Citizen of the Year Blake Johnson, 2021 Small Businessman of the Year Bruce Matthews, 2021 Chairman’s Award Winner Richard Lewis, 2021 Distinguished Service Award Winner Jane Caberrus, 2021 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Doris Ebony Brown and ESVA Chamber President Will Russell.

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce celebrated their 68th year yesterday evening in front of a sold-out crowd of businesses and community members at the Eastern Shore Yacht and Country Club.

In 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. 

Delegate Rob Bloxom was on hand during the evening and took lead of swearing in new Board members- Elizabeth Lankford, Beth Sharpley, and Matt Spuck.  Sandra Johnson presented outgoing Board members- Terris Kennedy, David McCaleb, David Fluhart, John Peterman, and Cristina Carollo for their unwavering support during their tenure.

Chairman of the ESVA Chamber of Commerce, Will Russell, stated that “your ESVA Chamber is firing on all cylinders.”  The crowd acknowledged with long applause. 

Richard Lewis was presented the Chairman’s Award by Will Russell.  Russell stated, “the Lewis family has been an integral part of the Eastern Shore for over 100 years and Richard has helped so many with his personal efforts along the way.”  

Jane Caberrus received the coveted Distinguished Service award for her tireless service to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  Russell commented that “Caberrus has successfully run a long-time business on the Shore and has organized the Juneteenth festival for 27 years.”

Blake R. Johnson of the Island House Restaurant was selected for the Outstanding Citizen Award.  George N. McMath presented the award and stated Johnson has lived a “remarkable life and the amazing contributions he continues to make for the benefit of the people of the Eastern Shore.”  

Doris Ebony Brown of the Eastern Shore Academy of Cosmetology received the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.  In addition to owning and running five very successful businesses, Brown has impacted the lives of dozens of men and women, with many now owning and operating their own business as a result of Brown’s tutelage.  

Bruce and Patty Matthews of Matthews Market were presented with the Small Business Person of the Year Award.  Presenting the award was Will Russell.  Russell stated “In addition to the stress of running the small grocery store during regular circumstances, Bruce and Patty ran the operation through the strange and difficult era of COVID-19. Continuing to stay open in the face of lockdowns, supply shortages, and uncertainty should be celebrated and rewarded.”

“Thank you to everyone who celebrated this time-honored tradition of food and fellowship at the Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s 68th Annual Dinner and Membership meeting,” said Sabbatini.