By Jessica Mathews /

The Livingston County Convention & Visitors Bureau recently hosted its Heart of Hospitality Luncheon as a means to thank all of the hospitality and tourism stars in the community for their contributions and endless support.

In the past year, several Livingston County businesses were said to have stepped up and donated funds, equipment and food to aid the community during the COVID-19 crisis. The LCCVB specially recognized the efforts of four local hospitality and tourism businesses that made significant contributions to the community during the height of the pandemic.

Hospitality with Heart Awards went to Jonna’s Market, Crystal Gardens, Tanger Outlets in Howell, and Homewood Suites by Hilton Brighton. A press release states Jonna’s Market delivered over 500 hot meals to St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Medical Staff while both Tanger Outlets and Homewood Suites offered their spaces to the American Red Cross to host much-needed blood drives during the critical time. Crystal Gardens initiated the “Feed Our Frontline Heroes” program and delivered over 2.000 boxed lunches to local hospitals, law enforcement, EMS, fire departments, and urgent care facilities.

Additionally, the LCCVB recognized three local students entering the hospitality and tourism industry with $1,500 scholarships and presented a new Community Influencer Award developed to honor leaders and influencers making significant contributions to their community through their time, actions, talents, and dedication.

Two scholarships went to Hartland High School graduates, Karlee Sanders who will attend Northwood University and Lilliana Litner who will attend Lawrence Technological University. The third went to Shelby Rochowiak who is attending Central Michigan University.

The new Community Influencer Award was presented to Greater Brighton Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam McConeghy. LCCVB Executive Director Mary Robinson said McConeghy influences and sparks connections in Livingston County every day and serves as a role model for service, volunteering for numerous local boards, non-profits, and events.

The awards were presented during a June 8th luncheon held at 2 Fogs.