Prescott Valley Chamber Celebrates Difference Makers In Community

16 July 2017
Satish “Catfish” Athelli, Prescott Valley Event Center’s Director of Business Development, accepts his Citizen of the Year Award at the Prescott Resort during the annual Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Community Awards on Friday July 14th, 2017 in Prescott, Arizona. All Photos by: Torrence Dunham
Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards Individuals and Orginizations In The Community at 19th Annual Banquet

PRESCOTT VALLEY- Satish “Catfish” Athelli, Prescott Valley Event Center’s Director of Business Development, thought he was invited to attend the annual Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Community Awards because there were a few extra spots available. Instead it was a clever way for Athelli to be there for the real reason, to give him the Prescott Valley Citizen of the Year Award.

“I didn’t see it coming,” laughed Athelli who is known for work with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the annual Salute to Heroes among other events. “I don’t know how to put it in words but there are no “I”s, t’s a we kind of thing. I have just been fortunate enough to be around good people.”

Athelli was just one of the individuals honored Friday night at the Prescott Resort. The Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Community Awards has honored business owners and difference makers in the community since 1998 as a way to celebrate another year at the chamber.

“These are the unsung heroes of our community,” Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO Marnie Uhl said. “The work day to day isn't necessarily recognized for what they are giving back to the community whether it’s their business, whether it's their volunteering.”

Along with the award ceremony, dinner and entertainment are provided as members from all over Prescott Valley come to enjoy the event year after year.

“It was a beautiful turnout,” Uhl said. “All the businesses and organizations, people in our community, came out to just celebrate with us the chamber’s past year.”

While business owners and difference makers were honored, the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce made sure not to forget some of the most important people in the community-the volunteers.

Jumping on a shuttle at 5:00am Saturday morning for an upcoming trip to the western Caribbean, Kathy Zorn Bracety’s husband urged her to hold off packing and attend the ceremony. As was the case for Athelli, it turned out to be a good idea for Bracety. She was honored with the volunteer of the year award.

“It’s unbelievable, humbling,” Bracety said. “I’m very honored by this. I do this because I love it and it’s so important. It’s a passion.”

“Prescott Valley is an amazing community,” Bracety continued. “It embraces everybody and it comes together when there is need and even when there is not they celebrate life, celebrate people.”

While Bracety won the Norm Pariseau Volunteer of the Year award and Athellii won the Prescott Valley Citizen of the Year Award, Bradshaw Mountain High School student Preston Lefteroff was honored with Student of The Year. Teacher of The Year went to JoAnn Hayden. Busniess Leader of the Year was awarded to Jamie Goeringer and the Prescott Valley Heritage award belongs to Curt Bonelli.

The Boys and Girls Club of Central Arizona won Organization of the Year. The Community Improvement Award has two recipients with Dutch Bros. Coffee and Bob Edwards Park. Prescott Valley Florists was awarded with the Chamber Member of the Year.

The conclusion of the ceremony ends months of hard work looking through submissions, picking winners, ordering awards and planning details.

“It’s a lot of logistics and pieces being put together,” Uhl said. “It just comes together with a beautiful evening that we are so happy to put on for our businesses in our community and celebrate.”

However, the break doesn’t last long as planning for the 20th anniversary ceremony starts quickly.

“It’s the 20th anniversary of our community excellence awards,” Uhl said. “There is going to be special plaques, a special tie-in with the community excellence celebrating twenty years of recognizing individuals, businesses and organizations that go above and beyond and do exceptional things in our community.”

Uhl said she hopes to have previous award winners throughout the twenty years at the ceremony in 2018.

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Torrence Dunham

Torrence Dunham is a multimedia journalist who graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.  Torrence is our Correspondent covering local news and events in Prescott Valley. He is also the lead sports correspondent and play-by-play pro for all our multimedia news sites. If he's not adding to his extensive sports bobble-head collection, he's talking baseball, his favorite. Follow him on Twitter: @Tadunham.