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Merrick Chamber Honors First Responders

(Credit: Chris Boyle)
(Credit: Chris Boyle)
Editor's Note: This article was written and submitted by Chris Boyle.

The Merrick Chamber of Commerce held its 78th Annual Installation Dinner on Jan. 24, where new members were sworn into office and local heroes were honored.

Held at the Chateau Briand in Carle Place, the event saw current Chamber President Randy Shotland sworn in for a second term, something he said he had little choice in.

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“I was told, ‘you’re becoming President again.’ I wasn’t asked,” Shotland said. “They felt that I did the right job.”

But Shotland looks at this as a blessing, as he said he still has a lot to accomplish for the Merrick community.

“We had a great two years, but I don’t feel like I completed everything that I wanted to complete,” he said. “There’s a lot more to be done.”

“We want to keep the town thriving and the stores not vacant,” Shotland added. “And it takes a lot of teamwork, and I have a great board behind me, which is so important.”

In addition to Shotland, Margaret Biegelman was sworn in as a new Chamber Vice President (sharing the duties of office with the currently-serving Ira Reiter).

The event also served another important purpose —  honoring first responders who helped so many community members in need during the dreadful impact of Hurricane Sandy.

Among those honored were members of the Merrick, North Merrick, and North Bellmore Fire Departments, the Bellmore-Merrick EMS and the Nassau County Police Department.

“We had so many people who put themselves out, left their families, to make sure our community was safe,” Shotland said. “They were there for us, so we should be there for them. It’s as simple as that.”

Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick, offered his sincere appreciation for the hard work of both the Chamber and the Sandy first-responders.

“The Merrick Chamber is made up of businesses that employ people locally and pay the local taxes, and I applaud their efforts in serving the community,” Denenberg said. “Plus, the Chamber is recognizing the everyday heroes that went over and above the call of duty in the storm, to help the residents and the businesses recover.”

John Antimisiaris, Captain of the Merrick Hook and Ladder Company #1, said that while being singled out for praise was truly an honor, they were just doing their job.

“For us, it’s nice to be recognized for the hard work that the guys put out,” Antimisiaris said. “We really appreciate the recognition. It’s really nice to know that people care.”

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