Bay County Chamber Celebrates and Recaps 2013

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Hundreds of local business and community leaders gathered today to look back on the accomplishments of 2013 and prepare for more success in 2014.

The Bay County Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards banquet tonight at the Edgewater Beach Resort, to thank the outgoing board and welcome a new slate of officers.

2013 chairman Bill Fennimore passed the gavel to in-coming Chairman Larry Carroll. The Chamber also recognized some of the top performers of the year. Claire Sherman of Lamar Advertising was named Member of the Year. The Chamber's top award, the Lauren Merriam Memorial award, went to Hugh Roche.

Roche spent most of his career in television, serving as advertising sales manager here at WJHG back in the 70's and 80's, moving to our sister station in El Dorado, Arkansas, then returning to Panama City to be General Manager at WMBB. He retired in 2001, but has continued to stay extremely active in the local community.

"I am just elated," Roche said, "It's just a very special award that's been given to very special people and I don't feel deserving, but it was a very special award."

The Merriam Award is named after Lauren Merriam, who was President of the Bay County Chamber in 1959, the original Chairman of the First Friday Club, and an outstanding community leader.