morrell award

Little and Sons Insurance owner Bob Little receives a certificate from Sen. Mike Morrell.

Sen. Mike Morrell hosted his fifth annual 23rd Senate District’s Top Chamber Business Awards Luncheon at the University of Redlands Oct. 22. The event was attended by local dignitaries, including Yucaipa mayor Denise Hoyt, the program was intended to showcase the best businesses in the Inland Empire, highlighting their success and leadership.

Senator Morrell, who owned a real estate company for 25 years, stated that one of the main goals of the Awards was to bring people together in the community, and give exposure to the businesses.

“I overheard one person saying how he intended to visit a pizzeria he found out about today,” said MorrelL. “This is just one small way I can help create a community.”

This would be a recurring theme reoccurring throughout the event, as each city’s Chamber of Commerce selected the businesses they believed most worthy of the award.

Banning Chamber of Commerce’s Award winner Mark Little emphasized that the community was his priority when he ran his business, Little and Sons Insurance Services, Inc.

“Our focus is on what we can do for the community, not what it can do for us,” said Little, who is the fifth generation of his family to run the business. “I grew up in the area, and want to see it improve, and open up new opportunities for those who live there.”

The Beaumont Chamber’s winner was all about serving those in need: nonprofit organization Side by Side Humanitarian founder Kevin Bowers has worked to help relieve famine in 25 countries.

“The community is a place where people have access to resources of all kinds,” said Bowers. “I have done service in foreign countries, and now want to give back to my own community.”

Bowers founded Side by Side Humanitarian with the mission of eliminating hunger in the San Gorgonio Pass. His humanitarian outreach organization saves families $60,000 per month on groceries.

“According to the USDA, the average family spends $164 per week on groceries. If I can help with that burden, then those resources can be used to purchase other essentials.”

The San Gorgonio Pass Hispanic Chamber selected a business that has served the community in a different way than others. Yucaipa-based MCC Pipeline Inc. has worked tirelessly to help provide the greater Inland Empire area with safe, efficient water and sewage systems.

All of the businesses honored in the ceremonies have, and are continuing to perform essential acts to help the community continue and improve the quality of living.

One of Morrell’s missions with the Business Awards is to recognize and thank small businesses for their contributions as well as encourage them to preserve.

“It is my honor to serve this community,” said Morrell.

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