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Annual Community Awards Banquet

(The COVID-19 public health crisis has had a devastating impact on local businesses and families. The WK Chamber will continue to avoid the possibility of community transmission, and resume our in-person events as soon as is feasible.)
The pandemic has caused us to cancel our normal Awards Banquet for a second year. We again moved the Annual Community Awards online and once again gave out the awards, and thanked our sponsors virtually this year!
Collage of screen shots from Annual Awards
Collages of Zoom screenshots from the 2021 Annual Community Awards Event
Another collage of screen shots from Annual Awards

This year’s 37th Annual Community Awards was a Virtual Event in partnership with InterAct Story Theatre

The 2021 Awards was broadcast from the InterAct Story Theatre studio, to be enjoyed from the comfort of home!

This FREE Zoom AwardsCast was on
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm

The Annual Awards is a hallmark event of the Wheaton & Kensington Chamber. We celebrate the connection and goodwill between citizens, businesses, schools, and public safety workers in the Wheaton & Kensington community. And we ask the community to help us give thanks to those receiving these well-deserved annual awards.

The Chamber honors the Town of Kensington, Tracey Furman, Mayor with the 2021 Tribute Award. In recognition of all that goes into making Kensington such a vibrant and desirable place to live. Mayor Furman’s beautification efforts and support of the arts enhances the town that is host to numerous annual and seasonal community events, from parades, to concerts, to art shows and street festivals; and has been a great supporter of the Chamber.
Download 2021 Annual Awards Event flyer

This AwardsCast Event was open to Chamber members and non-members at no charge.
Advance Registration was Required.

~ Watch the 2021 Annual Awards video on our Facebook page.

RSVPing sent out the Zoom link for joining event
For instructions on downloading Zoom – visit the Zoom website which has videos explaining how to set up.

~ The 2021 Award Winners ~

View the Bios of the 2021 Award Winners

The 2021 Wheaton & Kensington Chamber of Commerce Tribute Award

Town of Kensington, Tracey Furman, Mayor

The Mid-County Citizen’s Advisory Board Citizen of the Year Award

Pastor Diana Wingeier, Hughes Methodist Church/Hub

The Mid-County Citizen’s Advisory Board Outstanding Organization of the Year Award

Up 2 Us Foundation

The WUDAC Outstanding Business Leader of the Year Award

Stuart Amos, General Manager of Westfield Wheaton

The WUDAC Best Property Improvement of the Year Award

Islands Lounge Mural, Owner Paul Daly

The 4th District Police Public Safety Officer of the Year Award

Officer Fritz Calderon

The Wheaton Rescue Squad Public Safety Award

The Entire Volunteer Membership of the WVRS

The Kensington Volunteer Fire Dept Public Safety Officer of the Year Award

Makoto Tanigawa

The Chamber Member of the Year Award

Omar Lazo, Owner of Los Chorros Restaurant

The Chamber Business of the Year Award

Gourmet Inspirations, Owner Andrew Quach

The Chamber Memorial Award

Kathleen Thompson (R.I.P. March 3, 2021)

The Chamber Appreciation Award

Ali Oliver-Krueger, InterAct Story Theatre

(Regretfully, there were no High School Student or Teacher Awards this year)

Become an Annual Awards Sponsor

Many thanks to this year’s 2021 Community Awards Sponsors

Community Champions

Fitzgerald Auto Mall-Wheaton / Greenhill Realty Company / Signal Financial Federal Credit Union

Community Heroes

Appliance Distributors Unlimited / Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center / Griswold Home Care, Aspen Hill-Montgomery / InterAct Story Theatre / Jubilee Association of MD, Inc. / Kensington Park Senior Living / Los Chorros Restaurant / Washington Property Company / Westfield Wheaton

Community Partners

IHOP Wheaton / Kensington House Apartments / Montgomery Housing Partnership / SERVPRO of Wheaton/Kensington / Town of Kensington

Community Supporters

Costco Wholesale / Letterforms Typography & Graphic Design / Kenneth N. Nelson / Onder Communications / Wheaton Shopping Center

Community Advocates

One Montgomery Green / WH Consulting

Community Donors

Academy of Professional Barber/Stylists / Ewing, Hines & Associates / Wheaton Studio of Dance
Become an Annual Awards Sponsor

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The COVID-19 pandemic had forced us to cancel our original Awards Banquet in April 2020. We moved the Annual Awards online and still gave out the awards, and thanked our sponsors!

In 2020, the 36th Annual Community Awards was a Virtual Event in partnership with InterAct Story Theatre

The Awards were broadcast from the InterAct Story Theatre studio, and were enjoyed from the comfort of home!

You can still watch the 2020 Annual Awards Presentation video from your computer, tablet or phone on the Chamber’s Facebook page.

This FREE AwardsCast was on
Wednesday, June 24, 2020 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm

The Annual Awards is a hallmark event of the Wheaton & Kensington Chamber. We celebrate the connection and goodwill between citizens, businesses, schools, and public safety workers in the Wheaton & Kensington community. And we ask the community to help us give thanks to those receiving these well-deserved annual awards.

The Chamber honored IHOP Wheaton Restaurant with the Tribute Award. It is one of the most well-recognized restaurants in downtown Wheaton, and is celebrating its 50-year anniversary this year! IHOP Wheaton’s significant community service and contributions help to sustain and strengthen the local community, and it has been a great supporter of the Chamber.

This AwardsCast Event was open to Chamber members and non-members at no charge.
Advance Registration was Required.

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In 2019, the 35th Annual Community Awards Banquet was on April 24, 2019 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at Hollywood East Cafe


(See 2019 photo at top of page)
The Chamber honored Los Chorros Restaurant in 2019. This “mom and pop” restaurant with authentic Mexican and Salvadorian taste and at-home feel was celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year! In 1989 Pedro and Reina Lazo opened their own restaurant after 12 years of experience in the Mexican and Salvadorian food industry, and began as a 75-seat, carryout style restaurant.
  –   After a renovation and expansion in 1995, Los Chorros grew to seat 175, with a full bar. The day-to-day operations have since been handed over to their two sons, Omar and Jason Lazo, who maintain the authentic tastes and feel, and they have also expanded their community service.
  –   This tribute was given in recognition of their significant contributions, and quality food and service since 1989 in the Wheaton & Kensington Community.

For over 25 years, the Chamber has recognized the area high school students and also included monetary gifts provided by the various sponsors. The Chamber has been committed to encouraging local businesses to mentor the students destined to become future leaders.

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Laura-Leigh Palmer was surprised with The Chamber President’s Award in appreciation for years of outstanding contributions as an advocate for and mentor to fellow business associates and aspiring artists, and tireless devotion to supporting and promoting the cultural enrichment of our community. Constantly volunteering her time, Laura-Leigh has participated in various capacities with the Kensington Day of the Book Festival, the Wheaton Arts Parade, the Cedar Lane Unitarian Church, the Kensington Labor Day Parade, and “Angels for Children” toy drive as an always-helpful Santa’s elf.

For 18 years, Laura-Leigh’s a.s.a.p. graphics has offered print and web design, and lately Google Enhanced StreetView tours, and social media services. She is on the Board and a Past-President of the WK Chamber, a member of Wheaton-Silver Spring Kiwanis Club, an Adjunct Professor at Montgomery College teaching graphics, a Past-President of the Montgomery Art Association, and the author of “Images of America: Wheaton” published by Arcadia Press.
Laura-Leigh Palmer receives Chamber President's Award

See photos of the 2019 Awards Banquet

See photos of the 2019 event by Samuel Corum

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