Key West Chamber of Commerce honors Karen Sharp with the Billy Appelrouth Award, a prestigious acknowledgment reserved only for chamber leaders that demonstrate its ideals and sacrifice personal time for the betterment of the community and its economy.
“While I often liken this award to MVP of the chamber, that fails to do it justice,” said Key West Chamber President Suzanne Moore. “This award recognizes a pinnacle of service that soars well above and far beyond the selflessness of volunteerism, in that every moment of dedication to the chamber is a personal choice to serve others.”
Sharp has served on several chamber committees including the Executive Board, Budget and Finance, Dues Committee, Economic Development, and Marketing and PR Committee before her election to the Board of Directors as Treasurer.
For the past two years, Sharp has reorganized financial policies including online bill pay and online event registration, assumed responsibility of finances and worked with staff during the transition of Executive Vice Presidents, and was instrumental in establishing the Key West Chamber Foundation which funds the Education Scholarship.
Sharp has served her profession and community with pride and passion for the past 40 years as an Event Lead of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, a volunteer at the Lower Keys Unit of the American Cancer Society since 1989, a former Board Member of Montessori Elementary Charter School, a graduate of Leadership Monroe County Class XII and as a former Board Member and Executive Committee Member of the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys. On a national level, Sharp has served as a Board member and Executive Committee Member of the Florida Bankers Association, a member of the Florida Keys Chapter of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Bankers Association, and the FDIC Regional Directors Advisory Board, as well as the Bank CEO Network.
“Karen has always shown unwavering support for the chamber by attending chamber functions and urging her staff to do the same as former President and CEO of First State Bank,” Moore said. “She has served and continues to serve on various committees, and we are proud to honor her with this distinguished award.”
The award named after William “Billy” Appelrouth operated a successful retail shop in the 600 block of Duval Street, surviving the Great Depression and remaining steadfastly dedicated to the overall improvement of island life. Mr. Appelrouth was a big part of the mercantile vitality of the island, and would lend himself to every facet of his community. He understood that if he was to live and receive from his island, it was also his obligation to give back to that community, which he did unflinchingly. Bill Appelrouth served an unprecedented three terms as chamber president of the Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce. Members of Billy Appelrouth’s family were present at the chamber banquet, and graciously sponsored the complimentary cocktail hour that kicked off the elegant evening.
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