Community members recognized at 133rd “Meeting of the Membership”

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 11:30 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Each year, the Roanoke Regional Chamber hosts its “Meeting of the Membership.” Thursday night was the 133rd event, where more than a hundred people gathered to say thank you to police officers, healthcare workers, teachers and even some members of the chamber.

“We have so many great leaders in so many ways, so many great stories to tell. This is our way to really help propel that forward,” said Eric Sichau, president and CEO of the chamber.

Each winner has left a mark on the Roanoke Valley community through selfless work. The categories included Roanoke City officer of the year, Roanoke County officer of the year, teacher of the region, LewisGale Regional Health System healthcare hero and Carilion Clinic healthcare hero.

The awards kicked off with with Roanoke County Police Officer Kevin Cielski. Cielski arrested a burglary suspect in October.

“Officer Cielski displayed exceptional observation skills when he noticed movement inside the victim’s residence. After conducting a security check, he found the suspect and apprehended him, preventing a potentially dangerous situation for the victim and the children upon returning home. Officer Cielski’s work on this crime demonstrated his due diligence, attention to detail and quick thinking. Roanoke County is safer because of his efforts.”

Next came members of the Roanoke City Police Department’s Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit, who arrested a shooting suspect in the city.

“This was not the first time the team had taken a large caliber firearm off the street, nor the first time that week the team had worked around the clock to arrest a violent offender who committed a crime in a neighboring jurisdiction. Their tireless dedication to keeping our community safe is commendable.”

Next was Carilion’s Dr. Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, who played a major role in navigating the health care system through the pandemic.

“Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie is admired for his ability to work effectively, despite uncertainty, collaborate with cross disciplinary teams, support his colleagues and counsel the community. During the past three years, he did all of this while continuing to serve patients as an infectious disease physician and supporting quality care, and he did it all with a smile on his face.”

Then LewisGale’s Dr. Dominique Dempah. Dempah was recognized for embodying what it means to serve.

“According to his peers, he continually puts his patients first and affirms the unique worth of each individual. He treats all that he serves with compassion, kindness, loyalty, respect and dignity. Dr. Dempah we are grateful for you being here and for your unwavering commitment to providing for the needs of those you serve.”

It didn’t stop there, as the chamber named Angela Myers as Teacher of the Region.

“A dedicated and passionate middle school librarian, our teacher of the region has made a significant impact on her students and this community. She has transformed the library into a vibrant and exciting place where students are eager to spend their time creating interactive stations that inspire discovery and collaboration, and sponsored five extracurricular clubs that foster community and leadership skills.”

At the end, the chamber also took time to celebrate longtime chamber leader Joyce Waugh, who retired at the end of 2022. putting together a compilation of people, including US Sen. Mark Warner, saying thank you.

“I am truly overwhelmed, I am so grateful and very honored and especially to the staff and to all of you, I dearly love you,” said Waugh.

Sichau said the Roanoke Valley has a lot to look forward to and many opportunities on the horizon.