Love Catalina Island honors community and business leaders

Courtesy photo Nichole Hohenstein and Carol Reynolds, with the Wayne and Susie Griffin Community Service Award.

Catalina Island Medical Center named Harvey Cowell Business of the Year

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Nicole Hohenstein and Bryce Noll (Catalina Island Medical Center) Business of the Year.

On July 22, the Catalina Island Tourism Authority (also known as Love Catalina Island) held its annual meeting, installation of officers and Directors and an Awards ceremony. The following awards were presented.

Harvey Cowell, Business of the Year Award

The Harvey Cowell Business of the Year Award is given each year in honor of Harvey Cowell, one of 15 visionary businessmen who on June 2, 1949 founded the Avalon Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce. Harvey Cowell was the proprietor of Island Pharmacy, was a prominent leader of the Catalina Island business community, served as an Avalon City Council Member and Mayor, and remained active in the community until his death at the age of 98 in March 2011.

The Harvey Cowell Business of the Year Award was established to recognize an extraordinary contribution by a business to the furtherance of tourism to Avalon and Catalina Island.

Of the three businesses nominated for the award this year, one truly stood apart for the ways in which they worked to support all residents, visitors and businesses on the island. This year’s winner is, the Catalina Island Medical Center. According to President & CEO Jim Luttjohann, “CIMC is being honored for their work in disseminating information to inform the island residents and visitors of COVID-19 protections, protocols and vaccinations.” Bryce Noll accepted the award on behalf of Jason Paret, CIMC CEO.

The Care for Catalina, Sustainable Tourism Award

Given for the first time this year to celebrate programs that encourage visitors and local businesses/nonprofits to support visiting the island with a lighter footprint and to help maintain critical habitats for future visitors. The sole nominee, but receiving multiple nominations for support of sustainability and improving the visitor experience was Avalon Rotary Club. “Club members have stepped up this year staging multiple community clean-ups in which both residents, visitors participated. Planters filled with non-invasive, drought tolerant plantings have also been a program brought forward by the club and its members, furthering the sustainability of the island while making it a more beautiful place to visit and enjoy,” said Luttjohann. Avalon Rotary Chair Michael Ponce accepted the award.

Other awards given were:

• The Wayne and Susie Griffin Award for Community Service, was also given for first time this year, despite being established upon the retirement of Wayne Griffin from his position as Chamber of Commerce CEO. “Of the seven nominees made this year for the award, the one who got the most nominations was Carol Reynolds. Carol was called out for her work in securing a location and funding via ballot initiative for hospital construction,” said Luttjohann.

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Chair’s Award, Lind Salo

• Chair’s Award. Awarded by outgoing Chair, Nicole Hohenstein, Linda Salo was the recipient. Linda was awarded for her efforts in leading the Weed Warriors, a volunteer group that are maintaining planters along Avalon’s waterfront and for making sure newly placed plants get the water they need.

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President’s Award, Catalina Express, Carol Elliott and Amanda Bombard with Love Catalina Island President and CEO Jim Luttjohann.

• President’s Award. The Catalina Express was awarded by Tourism Authority President and CEO, Jim Luttjohann, stating “None of us could survive here without a dependable and safe means of travel to and from the island, both for ourselves and for our visitors. Over the course of dealing with the various travel bans and restrictions on operations, not the least of which was being the defacto mask police, Catalina Express management and staff have been vital to helping us navigate our way through the past year plus.” Amanda Bombard and Carol Elliot accepted the award.

About Love Catalina Island:

Love Catalina serves as the official Catalina Island Tourism Authority. Originally founded in 1949, as the Chamber of Commerce, the nonprofit comprises over 200 member businesses, working to attract visitors and support the local economy. Love Catalina is governed by an elected board of directors and is funded in part through the collection of Transient Occupancy Taxes. For more information, visit

Love Catalina Island honors community and business leaders