May 3, 2005 – When the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce hosts the 2005 annual awards banquet and dinner dance this year, the stars will be out in more ways than one. "A Night of a Thousand Stars," to be held Saturday, May 14, at the St. Peter Greathouse, is an evening to honor several individuals for their contributions for the community.
The chamber has released the honorees for several awards, including the Wilbur "Bill" LaMotta Community Service Award, which was established in 1983 to recognize the outstanding contributions of public and private citizens. The award is given to people who exhibit dedication, sincerity, forthrightness and ethics in the practice of his or her business or profession.
"The honorees this year were all deserving of the award and extremely well received by the entire board," said Joe Aubain, executive director of the chamber.
Sen. Lorraine L. Berry, president of the 26th Legislature of the Virgin Islands, is one of the recipients. "When the board voted to make her this year's recipient, it was because of her number of years serving on the legislature and the impact she's made," Aubain said.
Lee Carle, news director of WSTA-Lucky 13 radio, will be honored for "his media involvement and his number of years of service," said Aubain. "He does a lot of community service as well with his radio station."
Another honoree, Richard "Dick" Doumeng, owner of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, was chosen for the major impact he's had on tourism on the Virgin Islands.
Thomas K. Moore, former chief judge of the District of the Virgin Islands, will receive the LaMotta Award "for the number of issues he tackled on the bench," Aubain said.
In 1999, the chamber's board decided to recognize an individual involved in the leadership of a non-profit or charitable organization. Thyra Hammond, executive director of United Way, fit the bill this year.
"During her tenure every year the board set their goals for United Way, and they've exceeded their goal for the last several years," Aubain said.
The achievements of these individuals reflect the commitment exemplified by the life and work of Bill LaMotta. Prior to his death in 1980, LaMotta was president of the chamber, a Small Businessman of the Year, a civic leader and a renowned Caribbean composer and musician.
The Award for Design Excellence was established in 1999 to recognize capital investment that demonstrates outstanding achievement in quality design, improving the environment, commitment to the community and economic growth.
This year's honoree is TOPA Properties for the restoration of Bakery Square.
"What TOPA Properties has done to Back Street by revitalizing that historical site has been desperately needed by the downtown area," said Aubain. "It's a wonderful addition."
Finally, the Student Achievement Award was established in 1992 to honor students who have made their school a better place through student government, extra curricular activities and academic excellence.
That award will go to Victoria McFarlane, acting state president of Future Business Leaders of America and a student at Charlotte Amalie High School.
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