By Jeff Clemetson | Editor
Every year, chambers of commerces all over the region hold formal dinners to usher in their new boards of directors. When Mary England formed the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce 11 years ago, she wanted her chamber dinner to have something more to it.
“I wanted to incorporate a little bit of the strength of our community in addition to having the dinner,” she said.
That bit of community strength is The Salute to Local Heroes — an event honoring emergency service personnel from La Mesa Police, Heartland Fire, paramedics and RSVP volunteers.
Every year, each department names two heroes who stood out in their field. In years past, these local heroes included paramedics who saved a gunshot victim, a police officer who used quick thinking to track down a stolen car, and a fire-rescue canine officer.
“In the past when I write the text for the evening program, I’ve had tears in my eyes for what these people have accomplished and why they were chosen — saving lives,” England said. “These are people who go to work every day, do their job and we get to just have the flavor of what they do for one night.”
That night this year’s event is on March 14. The 11th annual Salute to Local Heroes will once again be held at the Town & Country Resort Hotel, 500 Hotel Circle North in Mission Valley starting at 5 p.m. Like all years past, this event will have a theme: “Puttin’ On The Ritz.”
England likes the themes because they create a “party atmosphere” but she stressed that attendees are not required to dress up — business casual or business attire is perfectly acceptable.
“Some of the chambers have black ties, we don’t do that,” she said.
In addition to voting in the new board of directors and honoring the heroes, the chamber event includes an auction, a full course plated meal — vegan and gluten-free options available — and a cash bar.
Tickets for this year are $95 for individuals; $170 for a couple; and $700 for groups of eight. All pricing includes parking. Tickets are available through the chamber website, lamesachamber.com, or by calling 619-456-7700.
Like all La Mesa Chamber of Commerce events, Salute to Local Heroes is open to the public — not just chamber members.
“Whether people are active in our community or not active in our community, this is an opportunity to come together and celebrate the strength of the community. That is really the essence of the night,” England said.
—Reach Jeff Clemetson at email@example.com.
Salute to Local Heroes 2019 honorees*
American Medical Response
- Christian Grote
- Aaron Thomas
Heartland Fire & Rescue
- Dean Sergent – Engineer
La Mesa Police
- Erin Jones – Crime Analyst
- Det. Ryan Gremillion
Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol
- Mike Sparks
- Johnny Florez
* Look in next month’s issue for details on the heroic deeds of this year’s honorees.