Sun Life Family Health Center's Director of Community Outreach Renee Louzon-Benn accepted the WAZ award (and a Maricopa High School Rams jersey). Photo by William Lange

The Maricopa Chamber of Commerce hosted its ninth annual Community Awards Banquet at the Elements Event Center at Ak-Chin Circle Saturday night.

Hundreds of Maricopa business owners and policy makers came out to the event to celebrate the community’s top companies and individuals from 2015.

“Nine years ago, the chamber began a tradition of showcasing all of the good things that are happening in our community,” Maricopa Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Marla Lewis said. “We want to recognize the wonderful and deserving Maricopa organizations and individuals and businesses who have gone out of their way to make our community what it is today.”

Local travel agent Suzie Miller was awarded the “Small Business of the Year” award for her company Suz’s Cruises. However, Sun Life Family Health Center was the night’s big winner. The Chamber awarded Sun Life with the “’WAZ’ Business of the Year” award for its work among the community.

The award is named after Bill Wasowicz and is given to the business that makes the “greatest positive impact” on the community.

“Thank you so much to everyone in the city of Maricopa,” Sun Life Family Health Center Director of Community Outreach Renee Louzon-Benn said. “I don’t know if all of you know, but Sun Life has been serving Maricopa for 36 years. It seems like only yesterday, but for 36 years we have strived to serve the needs for everyone in need of high quality and affordable services.”

List of winners and nominees:

Renate’ Chamberlin Volunteer of the Year
•    Winner – Jim Shoaf
•    Nominees – Jim Irving, Tracy Davis

Nonprofit of the Year
•    Winner – Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship
•    Nominees – Mountain View Church/Food Bank, The Streets Don’t Love You Back

Educator of the Year
•    Winner – Bernadette Russoniello
•    Nominees – Chris McDonald, Lauren Miller

Civil Servant of the Year
•    Winner – Mayor Christian Price
•    Nominees – Karen S. Fierro, Richard Clore

Sonny Dunn Citizen of the Year
•    Winner – Patty Robinson
•    Nominees – Eric Lacz, Courtny Tyler

Small Business of the Year
•    Winner – Suz’s Cruises
•    Nominees – James A. Chaston CPA, Uniquely Sewn

The “WAZ” Business of the Year
•    Winner – Sun Life Family Health Center
•    Nominees – InMaricopa, Orbitel Communications