Carteret County Chamber of Commerce Honors Local Organizations and Individuals at 2023 Celebrating Business Awards Luncheon

Assistant Governor for Carteret County Rotary Clubs Barbara Johnson accepts the Giving Hope Award on behalf of the Rotary Clubs of Carteret County.

The Carteret County Chamber of Commerce held its annual Celebrating Business Awards Luncheon at the Carteret Community College Hospitality and Culinary Arts Building Thursday, February 16. The event recognized local organizations and individuals for their exceptional contributions to the community.

The Rotary Clubs of Carteret County were jointly presented with the Giving Hope Award for their continuous charitable giving and service to deserving groups both at home and abroad. The clubs, which included the Rotary Club of Morehead City, Beaufort Olde Towne Rotary, Soundview Rotary, Morehead Evening Rotary, Morehead Noon Club, Morehead Lookout Club, and Newport Rotary, have made significant contributions to the community and are known for their dedication to service both here and abroad.

Assistant Governor for Carteret County Rotary Clubs Barbara Johnson invited all Rotarians in attendance to join her in accepting the award. More than 30 guests joined her at the podium, a striking reminder of Rotarian influence and public service in Carteret County.

Youngs Physical Therapy and Sports Performance of Morehead City was presented with the New Business of the Year Award for establishing a robust practice that features individualized wellness plans that go beyond typical physical therapy treatment. Lead Physical Therapists Eric and Kara Kosco accepted the award and thanked founders Kevin and Jennifer Youngs, also in attendance, and the community at large for making their dream possible.  

Kara and Eric Kosco of Youngs Physical Therapy and Sports Performance of Morehead City won the New Business of the Year award.

“We couldn’t do this without any of you guys,” Eric said. “This is such a great community; you’ve welcomed us since day one. It has been easy for us to become part of this community, thank you.”

Youngs was founded in 2012 in Greenville, NC, where the practice is the official provider for East Carolina University Athletics. In 2022 the Koscos moved from Greenville to Morehead City to open the new location. Youngs of Morehead City will celebrate one year in business in April.

Parker Auto Group was presented with the Duke Energy Joan Huss Pulley Award for Public Service for their substantial charitable giving and championing of local institutions. General Manager Brian Parker accepted the award alongside his family.

“This thing is heavy, I feel like I just won the World Cup,” Parker said as he held up the foot-tall, solid glass award.

Brian Parker, General Manager of Parker Auto Group, accepts the Duke Energy Joan Huss Pulley award for Public Service alongside his family.

“We’re very lucky to live and work in Carteret County, one of the greatest places on earth,” he continued. “We just celebrated 75 years in this community; we’re very proud of that. The community has been very good to us, so as a matter of course, we try to be as good as we can to the community.”

The company, owned and managed by the Parker family since 1947, is a supporter of Friends of Fort Macon, Toys for Tots, and the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, among others. In 2022, Parker Auto Group used their platform to bring recognition to four local first response agencies by nominating them for the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association Hometown Heroes awards.

Tracy Mancini, President of Carteret Community College, was honored with the Marlene Anderson Citizen of the Year Award for her outstanding efforts to improve the quality of life in the community and her commitment to post-secondary education.

After a half-minute standing ovation from the audience, Mancini took the opportunity to reflect on the legacy on the award’s namesake.

Carteret Community College President Tracy Mancini accepts the Marlene Anderson Citizen of the Year Award.

“I was fortunate to be able to meet Marlene Anderson before she passed away. She was vivacious, creative, and brilliant, and she had a knack for bringing together good people who could accomplish worthy goals,” she said. “This is even more of an honor because it is in her memory.”

Since the start of Mancini’s tenure, the college has risen in rank on the SmartAsset Community College list from fourth to second and led the fundraising effort to pay off the new Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center years ahead of schedule, among other accomplishments. However, she was quick to pass the accolades on to hundreds of individuals who serve the college day in and day out.  

“I didn’t do any of these things—a lot of really great people who work with me did those things,” she said. “I just want to say thank you to the amazing faculty, staff and students at Carteret Community College, and to our wonderful trustees.”

Mancini closed by thanking her husband, Norris Cotton, and the community at large.

Coastal Press, Inc. of Morehead City was presented with the Arnold Murray Business of the Year Award for exceptional business practices, improving the quality of life in the community, and demonstrating community leadership through service with East Carteret High School and Otway Volunteer Fire Department.

Dawn Brock of Coastal Press accepts the Arnold Murray Business of the Year Award.

Dawn Brock, owner of Coastal Press, accepted the award and thanked the community for aiding in the success of the business and for their outpouring of support after her husband, business partner, and Otway Volunteer Fire Department Chief, Chris Brock, passed away suddenly in June 2022.

“I am honored to have Coastal Press and our family recognized to receive this award from the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce. Thank you all for being there to share this journey and your continued support. We are overwhelmed with gratitude,” Brock said. “We were deeply moved by your love after the passing of Chris.”

Lori Tulloch, Chair of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, was presented with the Cassie Algeo Award for Extraordinary Chamber Leadership for her outstanding contributions as a Chamber volunteer.

“The work I do is work for the cause, not applause, and that’s how I try to think every day that I go out and work. I greatly appreciate this, thank you.”

Lori Tulloch, chair of the Military Affairs Committee, speaks after winning the Cassie Algeo Award for Extraordinary Chamber Leadership.

Tulloch is in her seventh year as MAC chair and has tirelessly worked with the MAC to celebrate and give back to service members stationed at MCAS Cherry Point, MCLF Bogue, USCG SFO Fort Macon and USCG Station Emerald Isle.

The Celebrating Business awards were presented by Wanda Bennett, Chair of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Past Chair Shana Olmstead, and President Tom Kies. More than 100 people attended the event, which featured a gourmet meal provided by the college’s culinary program.

Bennett expressed her appreciation for the honorees and said, “The Board of Directors looks forward every year to celebrating those individuals, businesses, and organizations that make an impact in our community. Congratulations to this year’s recipients. We are indeed grateful for all of you.”

The event also recognized the recipients of the Chamber Military Affairs Committee’s 2022 John C. Beitz Service Person of the Quarter awards. The honorees were Sgt. LeSean Neely, Hospital Corpsman Third Class Ernest Patrick Espiritu, Cpl. Travis Oesterreich, Cpl. Philip Young of MCAS Cherry Point; and Storekeeper First Class Steven Bishop, Yeoman Second Class Hannah Elliott, Machinery Technician First Class Kyle Curley, and Marine Science Technician Third Class Aaron Stankiewicz from USCG SFO Fort Macon.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Ernest Patrick Espiritu was one of eight John C Beitz Service Person of the Quarter award winners recognized at the event.

Each quarter, the MAC recognizes one Marine and one Coast Guard member for exceptional service to the community. Honorees are awarded an official letter of commendation, an American flag, and a check.

Just before the close of the ceremony, Olmstead and Bennett took part in the traditional “passing of the gavel,” officially marking the start of Bennett’s duties as 2023 chair.

The Celebrating Business Awards Luncheon was presented by Duke Energy and sponsored by Debra Whaley, Attorney at Law.

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