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Chamber’s annual dinner approaches

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The eighth annual Bronx Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet is more than a month away, but tickets are selling out quickly.

The event will be held on Thursday, October 7 at Marina del Ray, and will be headlined by international movie star Richard Gere.Other influential guests, such as Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., will also speak or present awards at the event.

“The Chamber has been a highly recognized organization that not only helps businesses to grow, but it also gives back to the community,” Lenny Caro, executive director of the chamber, said.

Although the event is the single largest fundraiser of the year for the Chamber — all of the proceeds will go to its general operations — the main purpose of the event is to recognize business and community leaders that have helped the local economy grow during the past year.

Five leaders will be honored at this year’s banquet.

Ray Negron, author and baseball executive, will be receiving the Humanitarian Award for his work with Bronx children.

Negron is a writer and producer of the upcoming animated film “Henry and Me,” which stars Gere, Chazz Palmintieri, Alex Rodriguez and Paul Simon. Most of the proceeds from the film will go towards getting troubled Bronx teens involved in positive community activities.

The Visionary Award will be going to Joseph Simone, owner of Simone Development, for constructing the Hutchinson Metro Center on Waters Place. The center is a 460,000-square-foot facility that includes everything from food vendors and banks to fitness centers and dry cleaning. A new 10-story office tower facility is under construction, which will expand the center by about 520,000 square-feet.

Alfredo Thiebaud, owner of Delicioso Coco Helado, will receive the Longevity Award. His company began in the south Bronx almost 30 years ago, growing from a ten-pushcart operation, to a now more than 200 cart-strong ice cream empire.

Sobeida Cruz, of the New York Power Authority, will receive the Environmental Awareness Award for her devotion to the Bronx and the environment.

Lastly, Jorge Medina, of the bat manufacturing company Verdero, will receive the Community Service Award for hosting numerous childrens and community events over the past year.

“We’re recognizing them for their contribution to the Bronx and for persevering in the Bronx in tough times,” Caro said.

According to Caro, next year’s banquet will focus on recognizing Bronxites that have influenced the education community.

Tickets are $250 per person. Call (718) 828-3900 for information.

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