Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Ocean Pines Chamber honors award winners, installs officers

(Oct. 22, 2015) The subject of the Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce’s annual Awards and Installation Banquet was something of a sore one last year, as the high-profile event was one of several booked at a venue other than the then-new $5 million Ocean Pines Yacht Club.
Those fences would appear to have been mended, however, as the 2015 event went off without a hitch in the upstairs banquet room of the yacht club, which was decorated like a ritzy prom reception and filled with business owners, community members and more than a few local politicians.
During the event last Thursday, the chamber honored Business of the Year Ayers Creek Adventure, Citizens of the Year Bob and Kelli Beck, from DeNovo’s Trattoria, and Nonprofit of the Year Diakonia.
Chamber Executive Director Ginger Fleming thanked staff and volunteers during her opening remarks.
“We’ve had some really successful events and we’re very happy to have that community involvement,” she said.
Diakonia was the first to receive its award and Fleming said the West Ocean City nonprofit has been a staple of the community for more than 40 years.
“They don’t only give us emergency and transitional housing … but they give food and counseling and assistance. That organization is just vital,” she said.
Diakonia Executive Director Claudia Nagle called the award an “honor and a privilege,” and said the chamber helped make the connection between the business and nonprofit communities.
The Citizen of the Year award was next, and Fleming said the names of the recipients were “screamed at [her]” by chamber and community members.
“The amount that they give back to our community is immeasurable,” she said, adding that nonprofits and other organizations that benefit from the Becks’ assistance include the Empty Soup Bowl, the Worcester County Veteran’s Memorial, AGH, the Santa House and the Alzheimer’s Association.
“They’ve only been here — not that long — and they’re from New Jersey,” Fleming said, drawing a laugh from the crowd. “They understand the importance of the nice, relaxed lifestyle of the Eastern Shore … and we love [having them] in our community.”
Kelli Beck said she shared the honor with the dedicated staff at Denovo’s, while Bob joked that New Jersey was “a nice place to be from.”
“It’s just a pleasure to be here in Ocean Pines and it’s nice to be able to give back to a community that really is tight-knit,” he said. “We’re able to give back because you guys come in and visit us and you just make it easy.”
Fleming said she knew Steven and Suzy Taylor, owners of Ayers Creek Adventures in Berlin, “very well,” and that the husband and wife were “humbled beyond words” to receive the award for Business of the Year.
“It’s not just a seasonal business,” she said. “It’s a business that gives back to the community all the time [and] a huge proponent and supporter of breast cancer awareness.”
“We’re very fortunate to do what we love for a living,” Suzy said. “We’re just so blessed and this community has been supportive of us and our business since we started. So many in this room have been out to the creek and paddled with us and supported us.”
Maryland Sen. Jim Mathias presented a senate commendation to each of the award winners. Delegate Mary Beth Carozza presented commendations on behalf of the House of Delegates, and Chip Bertino presented citations as a representative of the Worcester County Commissioners.
During the event the chamber also introduced its new officers, including incoming President Amy Unger, who praised past president Anna Giles for her leadership.
“Her continual push for us to be financially responsible kept us really on track,” she said. “I think she got us off to a great start and I just want to continue the momentum as we move into next year.”
Up next, the chamber will host a business after hours at Brews Up in Berlin on Nov. 12. For more information, call 410-641-5306 or visit