Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce hands out its annual awards
● By Steven Hoffman
In a room filled with public servants, business owners who give back to the community, and people who work for the greater good of many, there was no shortage of worthy candidates to receive the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce’s three top awards—the Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, and Organization of the Year.
At the Chamber’s annual awards dinner and dance on March 2, awards were handed out to McCormick Orthodontics, Scott Brown, and the Eli Seth Matthews Leukemia Foundation—three unquestionably worthy recipients for this year’s honors.
Kim Jarvis, the president of the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce board, welcomed the attendees to the event, saying that there was a strong sense of civic pride among longtime business owners and professionals, as well as new business owners who are a part of the Oxford business community.
“We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this awesome community,” Jarvis said.
She introduced Jim McLeod, the master of ceremonies for the event. McLeod joked that he wanted to dispel the idea that Bryce Harper, the Philadelphia Phillies’ newly signed superstar outfielder, would be stopping by for the chamber’s dinner.
Transitioning to the announcement of the awards recipients, McLeod noted, “It takes a lot of people to make a community a place to live, work, and to raise a family. He quoted boxing great Muhammad Ali, who once said, “The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
This was the first year that the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce separated the Organization of the Year and Business of the Year into two categories. The Organization of the Year Award was presented to the Eli Seth Matthews Leukemia Foundation.
This foundation was started by Oxford resident Paul Matthews after his son passed away in 2011. Eli Seth Matthews inspired an entire community with the courageous way that he lived his life while suffering from a rare form of pediatric cancer. The Eli Seth Matthews Leukemia Foundation and a still-growing army of “Eli’s Warriors” carry on the mission to support the fight against pediatric cancer with a wide variety of events that raise funds that are used to support cancer research.
“I accept this award in honor and in memory of Eli,” Matthews told the audience as he received the award. He got emotional as he thanked the community for all their support of Eli and the foundation’s work.
He said that the foundation has been able to contribute more than $250,000 through the years to support the research of Todd E. Druley, MD, PhD, the associate professor of pediatrics, genetics, and developmental biology. Druley oversees a genomic research laboratory at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, an institution that has a long history of innovation and discovery in cancer genetics.
Before he passed away, Eli worked to raise thousands of dollars to support efforts to find a cure for childhood cancer. Many people are still motivated by the example that he set.
“We will find a cure, and it will be because of what you did to help out,” Matthews said. “I can’t thank the community enough. We can’t do what we do without the community of Oxford.”
State Rep. John Lawrence was on hand to present a proclamation that was approved by the State House and State Senate. Lawrence said that everyone respects the dedication that Paul Matthews has for the cause.
Next, McCormick Orthodontics, which has provided high quality orthodontic care to patients for more than 40 years, was named as the Business of the Year. McCormick Orthodontics has three locations. Founded by Dr. Joe McCormick, and now led by Dr. Michaela McCormick, the practice focuses on delivering excellent orthodontic services and care with an emphasis on patient comfort.
When she accepted the award, Dr. Michaela McCormick thanked her staff for upholding McCormick Orthodontics’ tradition of quality care.
When Oxford Borough Mayor Lorraine Bell talked about why Scott Brown, the Citizen of the Year recipient, was deserving of the honor, she noted that he is selfless and never wants attention.
Brown, a corporal in the Oxford Borough Police Department, was lauded for demonstrating great commitment and leadership during his 20-plus years of service in the police department.
Bell said that Brown never flinches when problems arise, and he is always looking for ways to help others.
Brown served as the interim police chief for much of 2018. He is also very active in the planning for large community events like the First Friday Car Show and the Connective Festival, leading the effort to coordinate police protection for events.
“Scott has given his heart and soul to maintaining the integrity of the police department,” Bell said.
The Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce makes every effort to surprise the recipients with the awards on the night of the annual dinner and dance, and Brown said that he was certainly surprised.
“I don’t know what to say,” he said after being presented with the award. He thanked his family—they were able to be in attendance without spoiling the surprise of the award.
With all the awards handed out, McLeod told the audience, “You’ve just seen three tremendous reasons to be Oxford Proud.”
He then encouraged everyone in attendance to give themselves a round of applause for all that they do to serve the Oxford community because it’s through the collective efforts that progress is made.
Jarvis thanked Oxford Chamber of Commerce executive director Christine Grove for doing so much for the organization. She also thanked Crystal Messaros and the committee that planned the annual awards dinner and dance.
Rosewood Farms in Elkton, Md. served as the host for the event, with the stunningly beautiful The Rose Barn providing an elegant backdrop for the festivities. Food and beverages were provided by Sherm’s Catering, Bog Turtle Brewery, Flickerwood Wine Cellars, and Britain Hill Vineyard. The DJ was Chuck Jackson.
Table sponsors for the event included Bethany Christian School, Cameron’s Ace Hardware, Chiropractic Services PA, Citadel, Country Chrysler, C.W. Boyd Trucking, D’Amico Law, Herr Foods, Landhope Farms, SERVPRO of Kennett Square/Oxford, and WSFS.