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The Chamber's champions

Tom Nelson hugs a Two Harbors student-athlete after being named the citizen of the year at the Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce's spring banquet. Nelson was recognized for his contributions to the community as a coach and teacher. Photo by LaReesa Sandretsky.1 / 5
Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce Director Janelle Jones presents members of the Voyageur Snowmobile Club with the award for volunteer of the year. Photo by LaReesa Sandretsky. 2 / 5
Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce Director Janelle Jones presents the small business of the year award to Randy Willert, president and CEO of the Two Harbors Federal Credit Union. Photo by LaReesa Sandretsky.3 / 5
Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce Director Janelle Jones and Tom Nelson pose with student athletes after Nelson received the citizen of the year award. Photo by LaReesa Sandretsky.4 / 5
Steve Wattnem, general manager of Cooperative Light and Power, accepts the large business of the year award from Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce Director Janelle Jones. Photo by LaReesa Sandretsky.5 / 5

More than 175 members of the Two Harbors Area Chamber of Commerce were at the chamber's annual spring banquet Tuesday night at Clearwater Grille. After a social hour and dinner was the main attraction — the chamber's annual awards were handed out.

Every year, one small and large business, a volunteer and a citizen are honored at the banquet.

This year, Two Harbors Federal Credit Union was named the small business of the year and Cooperative Light and Power was named the large business of the year. Members of the Voyageur Snowmobile Club, the volunteer group responsible for grooming and maintaining many miles of snowmobile trails in the area, were named the volunteers of the year. Finally, coach and teacher Tom Nelson of Two Harbors was named the citizen of the year, and subsequently received a standing ovation. He told the crowd he was "bamboozled," as his family had asked him to come to the event under the ruse that his father was to be honored. A number of Two Harbors high school athletes he coaches were at the event to congratulate Nelson.

The event closed with a raffle drawing and live auction led by emcee Ken Buehler. Buehler is executive director of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and general manager of the North Shore Scenic Railroad.

Chamber director Janelle Jones said 52 new business joined the chamber this year. Jones also announced that it would be the last banquet for two of the Chamber's employees. Michelle Peterson, the membership and communications coordinator, is moving on to a new job and Donna Kempffer, the office coordinator, is retiring.

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
(218) 834-2141
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