The summer is in full swing at the lake. July is a month for family vacations, community festivals, and a chance to celebrate the freedoms that generations of Americans have paid dearly for us to enjoy. Perhaps no month says “fun” more than July with the Big Day at the Lake, Davidson’s Concerts on the Green, and the Fourth of July celebrations that will be taking place. My family – on my mother’s side – has always celebrated the Fourth of July with Family Reunions taking place at our church in Rock Hill. As many as 200 family members show up for the annual celebration that has gone on for decades. There are literally so many cousins, we have to wear name tags to identify who is who!
Recently, one of our Chamber members stopped by for a cup of coffee and to share their excitement that their business was again beginning to take off – a sure indicator to them that the economy was warming back up at the lake. During our conversation, they shared how much the Lake Norman Chamber seemed to be a big family. “While other Chambers I belong to certainly promote my business – this one is unique. I feel we’re all one family,” they stated. It’s a story I’ve heard countless times but one I can never hear enough. We are indeed a big family – with all the highs and all the lows.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend the Eagle Scout Ceremony of Phillipe Boss. Phillipe is
the son of Heinz and Erika Boss, owners of The Coffee Boss – themselves, an inspirational story. Heinz joined the Chamber when he and his wife moved to Cornelius and opened their store. Heinz and Erika were one of the lucky few who won a chance to immigrate through a lottery from Switzerland. Shortly after joining the Chamber, Heinz sponsored a PowerLuncheon at NorthStone Country Club and standing before his fellow Chamber members proudly proclaimed, “We are living our dream!” I cannot even begin to share how much pride I saw on Heinz and Erika’s face as their son achieved something that less than 5% of Boy Scouts achieve – the prestigious Eagle Scout designation.
In the same week that I attended that wonderful occasion, a very involved Chamber member stopped by my office to share some troubling news he had received from his doctor. While initially he asked that we keep his condition confidential, concerned Chamber members heard about it and have begun to inquire. He pulled my staff together in my office and shared his condition. He began like so many others I have heard, “You guys are like family to me…and I need my family right now…” Even as I write this, tears are filling my eyes and I feel the all too familiar lump rise in my throat. We all hugged and with steel resolve he stated he would meet this challenge with the same determination he puts into his business every day.
The good news is the early prognosis is very positive and I know he will win that race – the most important he has ever run. The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce is many, many things. For most, it’s a great way to network, build important relationships, and to improve business skills. To others it is the voice of business at Lake Norman… and to still others, it’s a special family. We care about our community and we care about each other. After all, at the lake, business is a family tradition.