Floras among award winners at Currituck Chamber banquet

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This year's Currituck Chamber of Commerce award winners include (clockwise from front left) Doug Brindley, Scott DeMasse, Melissa DeMasse, Brett Harrison, Alex Carey, Carolyn Self, Lauren Santa, Kasey Powell, Dillon Baker, Rich Brown, Sam Wise, Doris Flora and Frank Flora. The winners received their awards at the Currituck Chamber's annual Meeting and Awards Dinner held in The Black Tartan Tap Room at Kilmarlic in Powells Point, Thursday.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, November 13, 2017

POWELLS POINT – A Currituck couple long active in volunteering their time to the community were among the honorees at last week’s Currituck Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.

Frank and Doris Flora were jointly presented the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award during the event held at the Kilmarlic Golf Club in Lower Currituck.

Also honored during Thursday’s event were Corolla Adventure Park, which received the award for Best Small Business with more than 10 employees. 

CMIT Solutions, which provides technical support for small and medium-sized business computers, received the award for Best Small Business with fewer than 10 employees.

Also honored were Brindley Beach Vacations, which received the Most Attractive Business Award; Corolla-based Wild Horse Adventure Tours, which received the Corporate Community Service Award; and the Elizabeth City-based Greater Albemarle Area Red Cross, which received the Nonprofit of the Year Award.

Chamber President’s Awards were also presented to the “Broadway or Bust” theater camp and to Dream Builders for supporting both the Chamber and the entire Currituck community.

Chamber President Josh Bass, in honoring the Floras, noted the Citizen of the Year award traditionally is presented to an individual for lifetime service. In the case of the Floras, however, the Chamber couldn’t think of one of them and their contributions to the community without thinking of both of them.

Frank and Doris Flora’s commitment to their friends and neighbors goes all the way back to the 1960s, when they became active in what was then the recently established Moyock Fire Department. Frank, 81, became a firefighter and Doris, 79, served as a rescue squad captain. Doris also became one of the first women in the upper end of Currituck to serve in a firefighter role.

Additionally, the couple, who’ve been married 61 years, have long portrayed Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus at children events and served as volunteers for the Meals on Wheels program. They also are regular attendees of Currituck government meetings.

Doris Flora said she was surprised by the Chamber’s honor.

“I mean, I love doing what I do, but I never thought that other people thought that much of us to do this,” she said.

Frank Flora said he knows riding on an ambulance isn’t something you’re supposed to enjoy, but he did because it allowed him a chance to help others.

“That’s what I enjoyed, is being able to help the people all of these years,” he said.

Brett Harrison of Corolla Adventure Park said he was both elated and pleasantly surprised his business had won one of the Chamber’s two Small Business of the Year awards.

“We love it – and we’re happy to see that other people love it as much as we do,” Harrison said.

Corolla Adventure Park is a “challenge park” that features a central tower with a series of obstacles, including foot bridges and different combinations of cable, rope and wood.

Scott DeMasse of CMIT Solutions said he was stunned his business had received the other Small Business of the Year award. He attributed the honor to the hard work of his employees.

“I’ve got a great staff,” he said.

Doug Brindley, president of Brindley Beach Vacations, also credited his staff for its work in the company winning the Most Attractive Business award. The company re-opened its Corolla office in a new building after its former office was destroyed by fire in June 2015.

Asked how Brindley Beach Vacations had been able to rebuild after such a devastating incident, Brindley said, “We pulled it off through a lot of hard effort, with a lot of people.”

“Everyone kicked in,” he said. “Everyone made it happen, from my wife and the entire staff and the engineers and the architects and the contractors and all of the vendors with them. They did an outstanding job.” 

Wild Horse Adventure Tours received the Corporate Community Service award for being ecologically conscious, employee focused and for donating to a variety of non-profit organizations, the Chamber said.

Kasey Powell, a tour guide for the off-road tour business, said she was speechless when she heard Wild Horse Adventure had won the Chamber award.

“My heart dropped and I definitely was more anxious than I was excited,” Powell said.

Though based in Elizabeth City, the Greater Albemarle Area Red Cross has an average response time of less than an hour in Currituck when disasters like house fires happen. The regional nonprofit has one paid full-time staffer and 45 volunteers.

Carolyn Self,  the Red Cross’ volunteer leader, called the award “an honor for all of our volunteers who work around the clock.”

“When they’re called on, they’re there to do the job. This is their award,” she said.

Broadway or Bust, which received one of the Chamber President Awards, gives young people a chance to express themselves through the performing arts. It also provides musical theater programs for children.

Dream Builders, which also received a Chamber President Award, works to provide premium home construction within a customer's budget.