Chamber of Commerce presents awards at banquet

BELLE GLADE — This year’s recipient of the Citizen of the Year Award at the 51st annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet on Oct. 23 was Ray “Michael” Wheeler (Mike).

This year’s award was awarded posthumously to Mr. Wheeler, who passed away in September. Mike was recognized as an individual of integrity, commitment, loyalty and service to the people in and around the Glades. His life of service began by serving a proud nation in the U.S. military and continued for a lifetime.

He served as a coach and mentor for young people, he became a member and served the Community United Methodist Church in various leadership roles.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News Kevin Basore with his brother, Stephen Basore

Mr. Wheeler served the communities of Pahokee and Belle Glade by sitting on both boards of the Chamber of Commerce, the Lake Okeechobee region by serving on the Lake Okeechobee Regional Economic Alliance of Palm Beach County board, and was a valuable asset to the annual Black Gold Jubilee festival by serving on its planning committee and tirelessly working the event as a volunteer. He was a member of the Belle Glade Rotary Club, annually participating in the fall Turkey Shoot and Black Gold Jubilee Children’s Fishing Tournament, where you would find him helping or teaching a child to fish.

The award was presented to his widow, Karen Corbin-Wheeler, on Mike’s behalf.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News Steve Nolin and Karen Corbin-Wheeler

The Belle Glade Chamber of Commerce Ag-Industrial Man of the Year award was presented to Kevin Basore of TKM Bengard Farms. Stephen Basore presented the award to his brother Kevin. Stephen described Kevin as the one who lays the foundation for the rest of them to build off of with the right character traits that allow him to get the job done.

Other recipients were:

• Firefighter Robert Johnson — Belle Glade Firefighter of the Year;

• Deputy Miguel Paniagua — Belle Glade Sheriff’s Deputy of the Year;

• The CVity of Belle Glade — Community Pride Award; and

• Derrel Redish — Palm Beach State College Impact Award.

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