Seaford Chamber of Commerce honors community members at annual Excellence in Leadership banquet

By Lynn R. Parks

Tom Brown, president of the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce, couldn't believe that chamber member Rob Harman hadn't already been awarded the chamber's Business Person of the Year award.

"Rob is so well known, so when he was nominated I checked and re-checked our list of winners and was surprised that his name wasn't there," Brown told members at the chamber's annual dinner and auction.

Conversely, Harman, who accepted his Business Person of the Year 2015 award at the dinner, was a little intimidated when he read over that same list.

"The people on that list are the pillars of the community," he said. "I am honored to be among them. I'm hoping that as time goes on, I can hold up my end."

The dinner was held Thursday evening, Oct. 22, at the Seaford Fire Hall. Also honored were Traci McKnight and Natalie Wilson, volunteers of the year, Don and Linda Allen, who received the Community Involvement award, and EagleWingz and Vanderwende Farm Creamery, who received Blazing New Trails awards.

In presenting the Business Person of the Year award, Brown said that Harman is "a good man with a good heart and a good nature." Harman came to the Seaford area in 1984 and opened Harman Video, a chain of video stores. In 1995, he got his Delaware real estate license and in 2002, he founded Home Team Realty with Frank Parks. He is now broker and owner with Alliance Real Estate Professionals, based in Seaford.

He is active with several organizations, including the Autism Society of Delaware, the Lions Club, the Sussex County and Delaware Associations of Realtors, the Nanticoke Rotary, the Nanticoke Senior Center, Crossroad Community Church and Delmarva Teen Challenge.

"Look at anything that is making Sussex County a better place, and you will find Rob Harman," Brown said.

Husband and wife Don and Linda Allen were presented the Community Involvement award by Gayle Weber, chairwoman of the chamber's Community Involvement Committee. The Allens "are a great pair," Weber said.

In addition to volunteering with the chamber, the Allens are active in the Seaford Historical Society and the Woodland Ferry Association. Linda Allen has served as chairwoman of the Woodland Ferry Festival for three years.

The couple helped out with Live for Chocolate, sponsored by the chamber, the city of Seaford and Nanticoke Health Services. They also volunteered with the city's 150th-birthday celebration, held in May.

"Whenever there is an event, look around and you will see Don and Linda Allen," Weber said.

This was the second year for the Blazing New Trails award, presented by Harman. (Last year's award went to La Red, a medical clinic in downtown Seaford.) EagleWingz is a hot sauce made by Rick Ewing, who was there to accept the award. Ewing started making the sauce in 1987 and started bottling it for sale in 2011. So far, he has sold more than 20,000 bottles.

Vanderwende Farm Creamery is located on the Vanderwende dairy farm west of Bridgeville and has a retail outlet in Dewey Beach (opened during the summer). Both the hot sauce and the ice cream are available at Something Hot Specialty Sauces on Phillips Street in Seaford.

Lynn Brocato, executive director of the Greater Seaford Chamber of Commerce, introduced the two volunteers of the year. McKnight, who is employed by Gatehouse Media, "has always been one of our top cheerleaders," Brocato said. "Whenever we need action on something, Tracy is there to chip in."

Wilson is the superintendent of the city of Seaford's parks and recreation department. She helped to organize the city's 150th birthday event and a celebrity softball tournament that was played that weekend. "She has impressive vision, dedication and spirit," Brocato said.

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