The Union Area Chamber of Commerce on April 7 honored the community’s special volunteers, an independent business owner and an active nonprofit organization. The annual dinner and awards ceremony was held at the Union Masonic Lodge.

Daniel Day was honored as the volunteer of the year. Chamber board member Paul Gaudreau described Day’s accomplishments and milestones: he attended North Yarmouth Academy and then Colgate University and the University of Vermont Medical School, served in the U.S. Navy and retired as a captain, moved to Union and served on the Land Use Ordinance Review Committee and the Union Planning Board, became active in the Union Historical Society, represents the historical society for the Union Area Chamber of Commerce, serves as a lay leader at People’s United Methodist Church, and hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

Day accepted a certificate from Gaudreau, and chamber President Martha Johnston-Nash pinned corsages on Day and his wife, Connie.

“You caught me totally by surprise,” Day said.

Chamber Vice President John Fromer announced that the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage was the nonprofit organization of the year. Clark Hooper accepted the award, and insisted that Irene Hawes join him to share the credit. George Gross, president of the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage, was honored but could not attend the event. The museum preserves and displays antiques of Maine history going back to Colonial times. The museum started with 900 pieces, and its collection has grown to 10,000 items. Each piece is cataloged, Fromer said.

“You can find your grandfather’s donation of an item,” Fromer said.

Gary Sukeforth, owner of the Common Market, was honored with the Business of the Year Award. Johnston-Nash said the Common Market is a central part of Union. Ron Hawes described the transaction that allowed Sukeforth to purchase the property, which was owned by the Masons when a fire destroyed it in 1997. The $1 deal allowed Sukeforth to build the grocery store.

“We understood that Gary wanted to help the community,” Hawes said.

The chamber’s nominating committee put forth a slate of officers that will be voted on at the organization’s next meeting. The proposed slate includes Erica Harriman, president; Fromer, vice president; Cheryl McKeary, treasurer; John Jensen, secretary; Johnston-Nash, board member; and Holly Savage, board member.

Johnston-Nash was honored as the outgoing president, and she in turn thanked Fromer, Harriman, Gaudreau and McKeary. In the past year, the Union Area Chamber of Commerce passed the 100-member milestone, created the second edition of the Union area map and guide, revamped the Web site, started an electronic newsletter, had a booth at Founders Day and River Fest, and held two business conferences. The chamber is a volunteer organization, Johnston-Nash said.

“If it wasn’t for you folks, these things wouldn’t happen,” Johnston-Nash said.

The Union Area Chamber of Commerce also strengthened its ties with the Waldoboro Business Association, and several association members were at the chamber of commerce event.

“It’s great to have that relationship,” Johnston-Nash said. “We are very compatible in our country atmosphere and style.”

Columnist and political commentator Al Diamon was the featured speaker for the dinner and awards ceremony.

“I’m going to insult a bunch of people and then take questions,” Diamon said.

He started with a theme of think tanks and poked fun at the creators of the Dirigo health plan, the Maine Heritage Policy Center and Envision Maine before turning his attention to Portland politicians, the Legislature and gubernatorial candidates.

The event ended with a raffle, and two big winners — Gaudreau and Paulette Oboyski — took home most of the prizes.