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Three honored by Lehigh Chamber

By Staff | Aug 3, 2011

Chamber Member El-Gendy. Joe Whalen, left, executive director of the Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, presents the Member of the Month Award to Dr. Alaa El-Gendy of Florida Lung & Sleep Associates. Photo by Mel Toadvine

Three people have been honored by the Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce for their service to both the community and the Chamber. They were recognized July 26 at the regular monthly meeting of the Chamber which was held at the Majestic Golf Club on Homestead Rd.

Dr. Alaa El-Gendy of Florida Lung & Sleep Associates on Lee Blvd. was honored as the Chamber of Commerce Member of the Month because he has been what the chamber called an “outstanding supporter of the Lehigh Acres Chamber for the past several years.”

Joe Whalen, the chamber’s executive director, said that on the one hand, El-Gendy is a strong financial supporter of the Chamber with top-level commitments to the Chamber’s website and also to the Chamber’s annual Chamber Guide. He said that Florida Lung and Sleep Associates also continuously supports the Chamber by placing candidate-graduates into the Chamber’s annual leadership Lehigh Program in each of the past three years to further development of the community’s future leaders.

Detective Chris Stoddard, a member of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Bravo Station in Lehigh, was selected as the Chamber’s Deputy Sheriff of the Month.

Capt. Ronald Curtis, the local commander of Bravo District, told Chamber members that Stoddard had been assigned to serve as lead investigator where several businesses and residents throughout Lehigh Acres had reported their air conditioner coils had been stolen.

Capt. Ronald Curtis, commander of the Bravo Substation of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in Lehigh, right, looks on as Joe Whalen, the Chamber’s CEO prepares to present an award to the Sheriff’s Office on behalf of Detective Chris Stoddard who was chosen as the Deputy of the Month. Photo by Mel Toadvine

“Through Detective Stoddard’s investigation, a suspect was developed,” Curtis said.

“On July 14, Detective Stoddard’s surveillance paid off when his investigation identified a residence in which the suspect was likely to appear to steal a set of air conditioner coils. That day, Stoddard concealed himself in the bushes surrounding the probable home and alone waited in the sweltering Florida heat with hopes that the suspect would show up.

“Hours passed, but eventually the suspect appeared at the residence and began to prepare the air conditioning unit for theft. Detective Stoddard called in nearby units and the suspect was arrested without incident,” Curtis said.

He went on to say that Stoddard’s investigative skills, abilities, and knowledge are impressive and his investigation and “removal of the predatory felon” from the community was a fine example of excellent police work and personal sacrifice.

Stoddard, who was working, was unable to attend to accept his award. Lt. James Loethen, second in command at Bravo Station, accepted the award.

Bob Eden

A third award went to Melissa Dortch, a manager with Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant on Lee Blvd.

Chamber CEO Joe Whalen said Dortch was a recent graduate of the Chamber’s annual Leadership Lehigh Program.

“In fact, Melissa was elected by her peer classmates into the secretary position by her fellow Leadership Lehigh Class of 2010 graduating class. Through her leadership Lehigh role, Ms. Dortch has also committed to being a class session facilitator during a number of this year’s Leadership Lehigh Class of 2011 break-out meeting dates,” Whalen said.

The three awards were sponsored by Mike Arcentales, State Farm Insurance; Mirror Lakes Golf Club and Coldwell Banker real estate.

The program each month, held on the last Tuesday, is sponsored by a different Chamber member. This month’s program was sponsored by Jonas Arthur of Devon Security Services who briefly spoke about the importance of alarm systems for both homes and business sites.

Chamber Employee. Melissa Dortch, right, looks on as Joe Whalen, Lehigh Chamber executive director, reads from the award that was presented to her naming her as the Chamber’s Employee of the Month. She is a manager at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. Photo by Mel Toadvine

The guest speaker for last week’s luncheon was Bob Eden of J.R. Sentel Company of Fort Myers. His topic was development and sustainability of a Chamber of Commerce.

He told them of successful ways for a Chamber to do business in the community.

The next luncheon will be held Aug. 30 at Majestic Golf Club beginning at 11 a.m. with the program starting at 11:30 a.m. Chamber members and others in the community are invited to attend. To make reservations, call the Chamber at 369-3322 and ask for Inke Baker, the assistant director.