The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce celebrated 20 years in existence and a successful 2013 during the 15th Annual Chamber Day of Champions on Friday, Feb. 7.

The chamber board gave out several awards during the breakfast including Ambassador of the Year, which was given to Ernst McComish, the Spirit of Ahwatukee Award, which went to Tim Hovik of San Tan Ford, and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Sen. John McComish.

The Chamber Day of Champions is a chance for the chamber to recognize businesses and individuals of the chamber who go above and beyond for the community. This year, Melissa France of Summit School of Ahwatukee was named Educational Mentor of the Year.

“I’m overwhelmed actually to receive this award,” France said. “It’s truly my pleasure to instill upon my students the importance of giving back to their school and community and classmates. I really appreciate that the chamber takes time to appreciate the hard work of educators.”

Nick Knight of Nick’s Computer Guy was named Volunteer of the Year.

“This is a room full of givers,” Knight said. “Givers get. Givers know that this is what the difference is between a random assembly of people that happen to live in the same geographical area. Givers are what make a community.”

The New Business of the Year was C2 Tactical Shooting Range.

“We’re very honored to receive this award,” said Vincent Vasquez of C2 Tactical. “We brought 50 new jobs to the Valley, we’re very excited about that. We’re finding an opportunity for individuals to learn about safety and firearms... On behalf of all the managers, employees and owners of C2 Tactical, thank you very much.”

Business of the Year went to Dignity Health Urgent Care of Ahwatukee.

“We started out 20 years ago,” said Peter Menor of Dignity Health. “There have been a lot of changes in Ahwatukee over the years and a lot of changes in health care as you all know. I want to tell you one thing that never waivered over the years... It’s the people... Thank you for this honor from the bottom of our hearts.”

This year the chamber gave a new award — Non-profit of the Year. That honor went to Connecting to Serve.

“I think we live in the most amazing community and Connecting to Serve believes the most untapped resource is the desire in each one of your hearts to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Sheila Coonen, founder of Connecting to Serve. “When issues in a community are prioritized and people get together and care, action happens. We believe there are enough resources in any community to solve these issues. It’s a matter of convening, prioritizing and supporting rising leaders.”

The chamber also took a moment during the breakfast to welcome a new board chair, Kent Johnson, publisher of the Ahwatukee Foothills News, and two new board members, Darla Salem and Devita Lewis.

Chamber Day of Champions is the first of four signature events the chamber hosts each year. For more information on the chamber, visit

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