The 2019 Business, Volunteer and Ambassador of the Year will be announced during the Perry Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner on April 2.

Lynsi Pasutti, executive director of the Perry Chamber, said community members could nominate deserving businesses or volunteers through March 15. The annual dinner sub-committee then narrowed the nominees down. The finalists were then voted on by members of the chamber board.

“It's really great to see the variety of perspectives because everyone knows these individuals and these businesses in different ways,” Pasutti said.

The Spirit of Perry Business of the Year nominees included both new and long-standing businesses. The award goes to the business that captures the spirit of the chamber and the community through their leadership, service and commitment.

Nominees for Business of the Year include:

Backwards Boutique and Backwards Properties for “investing in the community with the renovation of a beautiful building downtown and the opening of a new business that draws brings people to Perry.” Betsy Peterson Designs for “donating so much time and talent to the community.” BTWI for “being a small family-based business that always goes above and beyond to serve their customers and the community.” Hotel Pattee for “being a tremendous boon to the community in 2018, with new ownership and expansions with Frio and Harvey's.” Hulgan Plumbing and Heating for “going the extra mile for their customers and providing round the clock service, as well as their many community sponsorships and donations.” El Tren for “giving back to the community and helping the school by donating time, money and food.” Perry Community School District for “spreading Perry Pride and making big improvements over the last year with upgrades to the football field, continued growth in Iowa assessments and increased enrollment.” Perry Perk for “successfully expanding to a bigger location and thriving as an anchor business downtown.” The Perry Chief for “being positive and doing a great job of reporting all the great things going on in the community.”

The Jack Finneseth Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award is given to an individual who captures the passion Finneseth had for volunteering. The Volunteer of the Year “goes above and beyond to ensure the success of many events and programs through selflessness and many volunteer hours.”

Nominees for Volunteer of the Year include:

Lee Coons for “offering unique ideas and solutions and always volunteering his time and talents, on top of running a business and working full time.” Jenny Eklund for “her passion and dedication in making Perry a vibrant community.” Lois Hoger for “serving as an example, inspiration, and motivator of community volunteerism to all who know and work with her.” Emily Leslie for her “energy, involvement, commitment and dedication to improving the Perry community.” Matt McDevitt for “his spirit and passion, and constantly working to bring teams together to improve the community.” Misty Von Behren for her “helpfulness and dedication to various community programs.”

New this year is the addition of the Ambassador of the Year as the Perry Chamber's Ambassador program returned this year. While similar to the Volunteer of the Year, Pasutti said this award is geared toward the individual's work on various chamber events and projects.

Ambassador of the Year nominees include:

Joe Cerwinske for “going above and beyond to promote Chamber events through his work and volunteerism.” Zack Cregeen for “stepping up to be at all the extra events and helping at BRR.” Courtney Straker for her “passion for volunteerism and involvement with the Farmers Market.” Misty Von Behren for her “advocacy of and dedication to the Chamber, as well as countless volunteer hours for various events.”

Pasutti added that all of the various nominees will be recognized during the annual dinner on April 2 before the winners are announced.

The event will start at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour. Dinner will follow, served by Harvey's at Hotel Pattee.

Optional professional headshots will be offered by Yeisha Lee during the event for $20. Also new this year will be a silent auction, featuring items from Backwards Boutique, Betsy Peterson Designs, Mary Rose Collection Salvaged Soul and Ben's Five and Dime.

The annual dinner will wrap up with the live pie auction. Pasutti said the auction will help kick start the Perry Chamber's Fourth of July fundraising efforts. This year's auction will include 15 pies, a couple more than last year.

"I am confident and optimistic that we will raise more money than last year for the fireworks drive," Pasutti said.

She is excited to see "significantly more people" registered compared to last year for the annual dinner. Registration is now closed, Pasutti said, as they have sold out of tickets.

For more information, contact the Perry Chamber at 515-465-4601.