Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce Recognizes City of Miami Beach First Responders

MIAMI BEACH, FL (June 28, 2023) --- On June 29, 2023, the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce recently demonstrated their appreciation for the dedicated first responders of the City of Miami Beach by organizing the 9th Annual Heroes Pillar Breakfast sponsored by City National Bank and Baptist Health South Florida. Hosting a breakfast at the prestigious Loews Miami Beach Hotel, (host sponsor), the Chamber aimed to acknowledge the unwavering commitment and bravery of the local heroes. The event saw an impressive turnout, with numerous city officials, dignitaries, and members of the vibrant local community attending in a unified show of support for the cause. The gathering served as a platform to express gratitude and honor those who tirelessly serve and protect the Miami Beach community, fostering a sense of camaraderie and appreciation among all who were present.
The event kicked off with the presentation of colors by the Miami Beach Color Guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Miami Beach JCC President & CEO Paul Frishman. Then the attendees enjoyed a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, by Summer Dawn, who would also later sing God Bless the USA to commence the presentation of the awards to the honorees.
“As a transplant from another city, I deeply value and respect the incredible work of the first responders in Miami Beach. Their dedication to ensuring the safety and well-being of our community is truly remarkable. Knowing how challenging it can be to manage the dynamic population of Miami Beach, I feel incredibly safe thanks to the vigilance and professionalism of these heroes. I am grateful for their service, and it is an honor to support and recognize them for their unwavering commitment,” said Pillar Board Chair Richard Pototsky of Miami CFO.
This much anticipated event not only serves as a recognition platform but also fosters a unique opportunity for the business community to connect with the first responders who selflessly serve the City of Miami Beach. The Chamber of Commerce has ingeniously designed the event to ensure that each honoree is sponsored by a local business. By doing so, the business community actively participates in making this event possible and demonstrates their support for the first responders. This year’s Hero sponsors included City National Bank, Baptist Health South Florida, ServPro Miami Beach, Verizon, East of Collins, Gunster, Miami CFO, Miami Beach Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center, ASA Agency and Hotwire Communications.
"As a business owner in Miami Beach, I am honored to sponsor this event every year because it allows me to show my support for our incredible first responders. Their dedication, bravery, and selflessness are not only vital to our community's safety but also exemplify the core values I strive to uphold in my own business. Their tireless efforts inspire me, and I am grateful for the opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation through this sponsorship," says Joe Hrbek, of SERVPRO of Miami Beach.
City of Miami Beach Chief of Police Richard Clements, who is set to retire later this year, expressed immense pride in recognizing his fellow unit officers during the event. As a leader and advocate for the police force, Chief Clements took this opportunity to personally acknowledge the dedication and exemplary service of his fellow officers, emphasizing the importance of their work and their invaluable contributions to the community. This year’s honorees from the City of Miami Beach Police Department included Officer Michael Otero, Officer Randal Utrera, Detective Sujey Espinosa and Officer Rodolfo Albaladejo.
City of Miami Beach Chief of Fire & Ocean Rescue Virgil Fernandez also took the opportunity to recognize the members of his unit for their unwavering bravery and outstanding achievements. Through his years of leadership, Chief Fernandez understands the sacrifices and dedication exhibited by his team on a daily basis, and he made sure to commend them for their exceptional service to the community during the event. This year’s honorees included Firefighter Pedro Bermejo, Firefighter Michael Sica, Lifeguard Rangel Guerrero, Lifeguard Naomi Neal, and Complaint Operator II Ashely Michel.
“Our business and local community respect the dangerous and difficult work our first responders do every day, which is why it’s a sold out event every year. This year, we honored Nick Powers, Founder of Warfighter Scuba. He runs a non-profit organization whose mission is to teach and certify wounded veterans, Scuba, by offering custom-tailored training and worldwide recognized certifications as a means of providing our war heroes an alternate outlet for their burdens of war. Because our Miami Beach Reef Line project is currently underway, we thought it would be appropriate to invite him to celebrate with us, and to utilize the future location of the reef line as his training spot while in Miami Beach,” said Jerry Libbin, President & CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber.
Gift Sponsors contributed 10 gift donations of the same value, that were put together as gift baskets and given to each hero. Gift Sponsors included Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association, Marriott Stanton South Beach, Kimpton Surfcomber South Beach, W South Beach, Gale South Beach, Dream South Beach, Faena Miami Beach, Sea View Hotel, Moxy Miami South Beach, PADL, Boucher Brothers Management, Clear View Kayaks, Miami Beach JCC, Generator Freehand Hotel, Mango’s Tropical Café, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Mount Sinai Medical Center, My Organic Zone, Nike, Phoenix Human Capital Solutions, South Beach Room Escape, V & E Restaurant Group, ALTO, Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center and The Lifeguard by Edwar Simal Art Gallery & Cafe.