Former Maricopa mayor and current Pinal County Supervisor Anthony “Tony” Smith was given the Sonny Dunn Citizen of the Year award during the annual Maricopa Chamber of Commerce awards banquet Saturday.
The award is named after Sonny Dunn, a lifelong resident of Maricopa who was one of the city’s original farmers.
Smith told attendees he and wife Nancy moved to Maricopa 10 years ago last July: “We’ve learned to really enjoy and love the community. We’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
The award is given to a member of the community who serves in more than one area from serving on nonprofit boards to volunteering in other organizations and has served the community in ways above and beyond their individual or professional goals.
Smith has volunteered for F.O.R. Maricopa, the local food bank, was a leader in the formation of For Our City Maricopa, a group serving the community through collaboration between government, business and faith-based groups and is an active member of Community of Hope Church.
He was elected county supervisor of the newly created District 4, which includes Maricopa, in November.
The award for Business of the Year went to Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort.
Michael Kintner, director of marketing for the casino resort, said he was elated at receiving the award.
“We’re excited,” he said after the awards presentation.
Kintner said it was the first time the business had received the award in the seven years he has worked for the casino resort.
The award is given to businesses that have an excellent reputation, both internally and externally, demonstrate sound business practices and excellence in the area of customer service and are involved in community programs, activities or services.
The Melonhead Foundation, a pediatric cancer charity based in Tempe, won the chamber’s award for Nonprofit of the Year.
“The work we’ve done is dear to my heart and it was an honor just to be on the list of nonprofits,” said Deb Leone, organization founder and Maricopa resident.
The group, which helps families that have a child with a recent cancer diagnosis pay bills, buy food, find resources and offers free holistic services, is named after Melanie Leone, Deb Leone’s daughter, who died of lymphocytic leukemia in 1992.
“When you work a nonprofit, and you give of yourself to the community through a nonprofit, it’s usually always a labor of love, so I’m honored and I’m grateful,” Leone said.Winners of that award have shown outstanding benefits and contributions that address the essential needs of the community, are involved with volunteer organizations that are based in or heavily involved in the Maricopa area.
Therese Starkey, president of Maricopa Seniors and an active community volunteer, was named Renate Chamberlin Volunteer of the Year.
“All I can say is, don’t thank me, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to do what my Lord wants me to do,” Starkey said. “Thank you.”
Saturday's ceremony was held in the ballroom at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort.