SALISBURY – On the eve of the 14th Annual Newburyport Literary Festival, the founder of the event credited the many volunteers she has worked with over the years after being honored with the Edward G. Molin Community Leadership Award at the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting Thursday night.

Newburyport resident Vicki Hendrickson declared, “Holy smokes! I am floored,” after receiving the award from Molin Award committee member Patricia Connolly in the ceremony at Seaglass in Salisbury. 

Hendrickson, who also founded the Adult and Community Education program in 2002, is well known for her role turning the literary festival into an event featuring dozens of authors and poets and drawing as many as 5,000 people to the city. 

After receiving the Molin Award, Hendrickson noted the generosity of individuals and businesses in Greater Newburyport that helps the festival thrive.

“Every time I went to ask for money to start something that was about Newburyport, the banks, the businesses would say, ‘Yeh, we’ll help,’” she said. “We are so lucky to live here.”

With a nod to the many people she has worked with over the years, Hendrickson said, “Nothing happens with just one person. Everything takes a whole slew of people.”

The Molin Community Leadership Award, named after longtime businessman, former mayor, city councilor and School Committee member Edward G. Molin, recognizes “an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the fabric of the Greater Newburyport community both personally and professionally.”

The Molin Award capped an evening in which Chamber of Commerce President Frank Cousins Jr. recapped the accomplishments of the organization, noting almost 125 new members came onboard in 2018 and the Chamber finished with sound finances. 

Guest speaker John J. Donahue, a Newburyport native, talked about his work in the pharmaceutical industry, with an emphasis in recent years on the opioid epidemic. As chairman and CEO of axialHealthcare, Donahue has testified before Congress to advocate for health care cost savings. 

The 53rd annual meeting also saw the changing of the guard, with board of directors Chair Julie Ganong of Cococoa Baking Company handing the gavel to new chair Christopher Sullivan, a vice president at the Institution for Savings.

Four new board members also were voted in, including George Carey of Sea Level Oyster Bar; Lisa Shanko, First Ipswich Bank; Niki Bevilacqua, Eastern Bank; and Kelley Sullivan, Anna Jaques Hospital.

Award winners Thursday night included:

Best of Art, Culture, Entertainment and Recreation: Firehouse Center for the Arts.

Best of Travel, Transportation and Hospitality: C&J Bus Lines.

Best of Finance and Business Services: Darling Consulting Group.

Best of Beauty and Wellness: Interlocks.

Best of Building, Design and Home Services: Bentley’s Real Estate.

Best of Event Services: Pearl Pop Up.

Manufacturer of the Year: Rochester Electronics.

Marketer of the Year: Matter Communications.

Medical Care Provider of the Year: Dr. Sarah McCartney, Clipper Family Chiropractic.

Nonprofit and Community Group of the Year: Our Neighbors’ Table.

Retailer of the Year: M.K. Benatti Jewelers.

Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Louis Rubenfeld.

Young Professional of the Year: Alysa Morse.

Established Professional of the Year: Grace Connolly.

New Business of the Year: Nauti Pearl.

Richard K. Lodge is editor of The Daily News. Follow him on Twitter @RichardLodge_DN.