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Chamber Awards Dinner March 9, 2012

Long Branch:   The Chamber Annual Awards Dinner is March 9, 2012 at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa. 

The Chamber announced last month that the prestigious Libutti Award will be presented to Vida M. Damiano, R. J. “Buddy” Damiano and Diane Damiano Martin, all of the Damiano Funeral Home.  The award was established in February 1970 to commemorate Louis G. Libutti, a past President of the Greater Long Branch Chamber of Commerce.

Vida’s parents, Ralph and Marie Damiano opened their business in 1932.  They were an integral part of the community then and it has been continued by Vida, who became manager in 1968, and in 2001 Buddy and Diane continued the direction, management and ownership of the home as the third generation. Vida graduated from the American Academy of Mortuary Science in 1955 and was licensed in 1957.  As mentioned above she managed the business from 1968 until 2001.  She is active in many local organizations.  She is the President of the First Presbyterian Church of Long Branch, a member of the Historical Association and the Long Branch Seniors. 

Bud graduated from the New England Institute of Applied Arts and Science in Boston, MA.  He joined the family business and became manger in 2001.  Bud is a member of the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, the National Funeral Directors Association and the Associated Funeral Directors International.  He is a volunteer Firefighter with the Independent Engine and Truck Co #2 and a founding member and past-Captain of Rescue 85 of the Long Branch Fire Department and a member of Company # 2, West Long Branch.  He is an active member of the Amerigo Vespucci Society.  He was recognized by the New Jersey Hospice and Palliative Care Organization as the recipient of their “Spirit of Hospice Award”.  Buddy and his wife Toni have been certified as an AKC dog breeder and currently have 4 certified working therapy dogs.  Buddy and Toni live in West Long Branch with their daughter Niki.

Diana currently holds the position of Owner/Chief Financial Officers (CFO) of the Damiano Funeral Home, continuing the traditions started by her grandparents in 1932.  She currently holds the position of Treasurer of the First Presbyterian Church of Long Branch.

Additionally, the Greater Long Branch Chamber of Commerce will be presenting the President’s Award, March 9th to Monmouth University for the Multipurpose Activity Center (the MAC).  The Awards Committee felt that the University’s commitment to our area with the creation of the MAC should be recognized and honored.

Monmouth University’s Multipurpose Activity Center (MAC) opened in the fall 2009 and has quickly become a destination on campus and in the community.  Located at the center of Monmouth University’s 156-acre campus, the 153,200-square-foot Multipurpose Activity Center houses a 4,100-seat competition arena; a 200-meter, six-lane indoor track; locker rooms; educational and conference space; ground-level bookstore; and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

The $57 million project was completed on time and on budget.  During the course of construction, a number of local contractors and over 200 employees from the local area worked on the project.   

The MAC is an outstanding educational, cultural, and entertainment center for the area.  Live concerts such as Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, and Backstreet Boys are held at the MAC as well as family concerts such as Thomas and Friends, athletic and community events.

The MAC has received many awards and honors including a merit award from the Monmouth County Planning Board in 2010, the 2011 Good Neighbor Award from New Jersey Business & Industry Association, the 2011 Monmouth-Ocean Development Council Community Service Award, and named an award-winning project by New Jersey Building Contractor Magazine in 2011.

That same evening, the Chamber will be presenting Business Improvement Awards to the Rook Coffee Roasters and Norwood Auto Parts.   The Rook originated in Ocean Township and expanded into Long Branch last summer and has become a destination for coffee aficionados.   For many years, Norwood Auto Parts was a landmark on Broadway.  Last summer they relocated and renovated their new home on Joline Avenue.

For further information call Nancy Kleiburg or Susan Woolley at the Chamber office at 732-222-0400. 

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