From left, Harford Award winners Joe Leshko, Arrow Child and Family Ministries; William S. Kelly and Bryan E. Kelly, co-founders of The Kelly Group; Tom Anderson, COO, Tamera Rush, VP Defense, Rick Attilio, CFO, STG Inc.; Bill Larney, owner of Looney's Pub North; Shelly Stannard, owner of Flavor Cupcakery; Jim Weber, owner of Flowers by Lucy. (Heppner Imaging / October 7, 2013)

This year marked the 21st time the Harford County Chamber of Commerce bestowed recognition by honoring five operations as recipients of the Harford Award.

Established to recognize mostly businesses, but also other organizations, for their contributions to economic and civic life in Harford County, the Harford Awards end up serving as a kind of communal thanks.

It's true that in business, the principal goal is to turn a profit, but how that goal is achieved is often as important as whether it is. Moreover, businesses and organizations that are successful over the long haul aren't continually successful because they focus solely on the bottom line. Generally they also take note of the importance of providing secure employment, giving fair compensation, community service, support of education and any number of other virtues outlined by the Harford County Chamber of Commerce as Harford Award winning qualities.

In giving out the awards, the Chamber of Commerce, in its own way, helps focus peer attention within the business community on successful operations. By doing so, the chamber helps foster a climate of healthy competition that goes a bit beyond the usual business competition for financial success so that other, more intangible qualities are also seen as worth striving for.


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The 2013 winners are: Flavor Cupcakery, Looney's Pub North, Flowers by Lucy, The Kelly Group, STG Inc. and Arrow Child and Family Ministries. They join a long list of previous winners and, hopefully, an even longer list of future winners in years to come.

The winners of business-oriented awards may not be as high profile as winners of things like Emmys and Oscars, but people build their lives around their jobs, which in many cases are businesses. For a community to thrive, therefore, it must have thriving businesses, and it's good for organizations like the Chamber of Commerce to recognize those businesses and organizations that go well beyond the bare minimum of paying staff members.