(April 19, 2019) Just ahead of Spring Restaurant Week and in preparation for the start of the hectic summer season, Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association members met last Thursday to install new officers.

Executive Director Susan Jones oversaw the event, held at Harrison’s Harbor Watch, at the southern end of the Ocean City Boardwalk.

Ocean City Tourism Director Donna Abbott introduced association directors recently elected to three-, two- and one-year terms. They were: Carl Bozick, Karen Tomasello and Jackie Ball (three years), Garvey Heiderman, Spiro Buas and Austin Purnell (two years), and Dave Robinson, Ryan Wilde and Spencer Byrd (one year).

Abbott said each director was responsible for long-range planning and officer support for all association activities.

Also introduced were President Tom Tawney, First Vice President Rebecca Taylor, Second Vice President Danelle Amos and Secretary-Treasurer Shawn Harman.

Jones separately honored immediate Past President Gary Figgs with a plaque.

“For those of you who know Gary Figgs, you know that he is a man of very few words,” she said. “But when he speaks … he makes it all sound good.”

Also during the event, Jones presented the annual Tres Lynch Bank of Ocean City scholarship, honoring the former OCHMRA director, Worcester Prep lacrosse coach, and son of original Commander Hotel owner John Lynch.

“Tres Lynch … unexpectedly passed a few years ago and we want to honor his memory by giving a scholarship to a Wor-Wic student,” Jones said.

HMRA

The annual Tres Lynch Bank of Ocean City scholarship is presented during an Ocean City Hotel Motel Association installation event at Harrison’s Harbor Watch, last Thursday. Pictured, from left, are Bank of Ocean City Vice President Earl Conley, Dr. Kristin Mallory of Wor-Wic Community College, and original Commander Hotel owner John Lynch, Tres Lynch’s father.

The scholarship was given to Dr. Kristin Mallory, vice president for academic affairs for Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury, on behalf of student Kevin Leonard.

“Kevin moved here from New York and he’s going to soon graduate from Wor-Wic,” Jones said. “He is following the culinary trail, and he would like to open a bed and breakfast or a restaurant.”

Jones also presented a $5,000 check on behalf of the association to Phil Cropper and Caitlin Evans, who lead the culinary arts, and hospitality and tourism management programs at Worcester Technical High School in Newark.

“Those programs would not be successful without the instructors who lead [them],” Jones said. “Our association has been giving them $5,000 every year to keep the programs going.”

Ocean City Restaurant Week starts on April 28 and runs until May 11. Jones said restaurants could sign up to participate by visiting www.oceancityrestaurantweek.com.

“We really do a lot to push that out, and to get people out and about dining in Ocean City,” Jones said.

Afterward, Jones said the association’s goal is to identify tomorrow’s leaders.

“We install them as officers and we hope that they do everything they can to make sure that tourism goes in the right direction,” she said, adding many of those young leaders have deep roots in the resort.

“Tom Tawney, who is now president, his mom was a past president,” Jones said. “We have a lot of second and third-generation [members]. We do keep it in the family, because those are all people who started their businesses here in the early 1900s. So, we try to keep it true to Ocean City.”

The association will not meet again until the fall.

“We have too much going on servicing all the visitors for the summer,” she said.

The Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association is working with Atlantic General Hospital on a “Crush the Campaign” fundraiser for the nonprofit hospital’s $10 million Campaign for the Future.

From June 1 until Sept. 30, participating bars and restaurants will donate 10 cents from every crush drink sold to support the campaign. AGH will provide display signs for participants and promote the event on social media.

For more information, contact Tammy Patrick, AGH development officer, at 410-641-9690, or tpatrick@atlanticgeneral.org.

Additionally, the association is working with United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore on the “Dine and Stay United Ocean City” campaign, raising money to benefit more than 80 local health, education and financial stability programs. For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/DineStayUnited or www.dineandstayunited.org.

Josh Davis is an MDDC award-winning editor and reporter at the Bayside Gazette and Ocean City Today newspapers, covering Berlin and Ocean Pines, Maryland. He is the author of three novels, including 'Vanishing is the Last Art' (2012). He lives in Berlin.

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