Bellingham/Whatcom chamber announces new award, nominees for annual banquet

The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry has created an award to honor one of its longtime volunteers.

The Millie DeFord Chamber Ambassador of the Year award will go to a chamber member ambassador who serves at official functions.

DeFord served as the chamber’s lead ambassador for many years before her death in February at the age of 85. She founded and developed the chamber’s monthly Networking Breakfast and regularly attended chamber functions.

The award will be added to the 10th annual Awards Banquet, held Thursday, Dec. 4 at the Best Western Lakeway Inn & Conference Center.

The chamber also announced the nominees for its awards banquet.

The nominees for Small Business of the Year are Bellingham Explorer, San Juan Airlines, Speedy Automated Mailers and State Street Insurance.

The nominees for Large Business of the Year are Avenue Bread, Best Western Plus Lakeway Inn & Conference Center, Massage Envy Spa, SpringHill Suites by Marriott and Wilson Motors.

Two awards were given out ahead of the December banquet. The Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center was named the 2014 Nonprofit of the Year, and Western Washington University was awarded the Green Business of the Year award.

According to a news release from the chamber, the resolution center was recognized for its work providing services to businesses and individuals in the community, including its professional mediation workshops. WWU was recognized for its success in banning sales of plastic disposable water bottles on campus.

Two awards to be announced at the banquet are the Man and Woman of the Year.

Tickets and more information are available at Bellingham.com.