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From left, Dr. Mitch Couret and Deb Courtemanche of the Merrimack Chamber of Commerce present Edna Woods of Merrimack with the 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award. (COURTESY)

Merrimack chamber honors businesses and their leaders

MERRIMACK - The Merrimack Chamber of Commerce hosted its 49th annual Recognition Banquet and Scholarship Fundraiser last week, honoring Dan and Cathy Hock of Merrimack Flower Shop and Greenhouse as the Business Leaders of the Year.

"There are so many outstanding businesses in our membership pool, and we feel they should be acknowledged for their outstanding achievements," said Deb Courtemanche, executive director of the chamber.

Merrimack Flower Shop has been family owned and operated since 1969, housed at 4 Railroad Ave. and known for its custom floral arrangements and same-day delivery.

"They are truly a family business carrying on the tradition and business practices established long ago by Ed and Marion Hock," said Dr. Mitch Couret, chamber board president. "Their generosity of spirit, community and chamber is astounding and unyielding. It is such an honor to award these outstanding individuals with this prestigious honor."

About 200 people attended Thursday's banquet at the SERESC Conference Center in Bedford. In addition to the Hock family, The Arbors of Bedford, an assisted living facility, was named the Business of the Year by the chamber.

"Our business is all about taking care of people, so it was so nice to be recognized by the chamber for our work," said Michele Ellis, executive director of The Arbors. "The chamber has so many wonderful businesses associated with it, so we are thrilled to be honored like this."

Tom Lachance, program manager at BAE Systems, received the chamber's President's Award. He currently serves on the chamber's Board of Directors.

Edna Woods of Merrimack was selected for the Volunteer of the Year Award. Woods, a mother of seven children, helped establish the New England Parkinson's Ride to help raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation after her son was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2005.

"It was an awesome night, and everyone deserved to be recognized. We are very proud of all the award winners," Courtemanche said on Monday.

While the final tally of Thursday's fundraiser has not yet been calculated, Courtemanche said in the past 10 years the annual event has raised more than $20,000 for student scholarships.


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