by Lauren Krupar
Cuyahoga Falls -- The "shining stars" of Cuyahoga Falls were honored at the May 23 Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce meeting.
"This is really one of the best days of the years for Cuyahoga Falls," Mayor Don Robart said. "To name the citizen of the year and the business person of the year is really a highlight."
Out of a field of 15 nominations, Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce members honored Liz Cross as its citizen of the year and Danny Karam as its business person of the year at a Chamber meeting at the Silver Lake Country Club. More than 50 Chamber members applauded as the honorees received their awards.
"They are the shining stars of Cuyahoga Falls," Chamber of Commerce CEO Laura Petrella said. "It's the highest honor the Chamber gives out."
Karam founded Karam Companies in 1989 and has since developed residential communities in the city such as Cedarwood Village, Hidden Hills, Portage View West and others. The company, which has its corporate headquarters in Cuyahoga Falls, now extends to Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas.
"He was born and raised here and continues to develop here," Petrella said. "He believes in our community."
Robart said Karam is a "dynamic individual" who has chosen to remain in Cuyahoga Falls.
"He has done a phenomenal job on each and every one of his projects," Robart said. "His overall business profile has exploded over the last several years."
Karam said he was surprised and honored by the award.
"It's a great honor to be named the business person of the year out of all the businesses in Cuyahoga Falls," Karam said, crediting his staff for the company's success. "Without my staff, I would not be standing here."
Cross joined the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society in 1986 and has served as committee head, board member and museum curator. She has been involved with the historical society through its years of transition from the Quirk Cultural Center to a Hudson Drive location to the current museum at 2083 Cook St.
"I never expected anything like this at all," Cross said. "It is an incredible honor."
Robart said Cross is a "wonderful young lady" who remains dedicated to preserving the history of Cuyahoga Falls.
"She has an absolute passion for the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society," Robart said. "She is the hardest working volunteer at the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society."
Petrella said she nominated Cross for the award because of that dedication.
"She has never given up on the historical society," Petrella said. "Through all the challenges and changes, she has never given up hope that the society would find a permanent home."