I am writing in response to your editorial on August 27, 2002, regarding the Chamber’s Venison Feed.
As I celebrate my second anniversary as the Chamber’s Executive Vice President, I remember my introduction to the Venison Feed. Some of the first guests I served were a family visiting from Manitowoc. There were three generations of hunters who were eager to greet opening weekend. I also had the pleasure of seeing many of my neighbors and Chamber Members at the event.
Last year, I recognized a few returning guests, and enjoyed serving to our visitors, the local nursing homes, students at the Tomahawk schools, and folks dropping in for lunch. The Venison Feed is a public relations campaign for visitors, but it is truly an event for our community.
As the Chamber reviewed its insurance for the 2002-2003 year, it came to our attention that insurance companies were concerned about us serving venison this year. One of the company's that quoted for us would not insure the event.
The Chamber was concerned as well. Since there is no conclusive information on chronic wasting disease, the Board discussed the possibility of not serving venison at this year’s feed.
The Chamber is responsible to our Members, who expect us to act prudently and in the best interests of the Membership and the community. While hosting the Venison Feed was never in doubt, serving meat that has not been guaranteed to be safe is.
The Venison Feed is a proud, historic event that the Chamber hosts for the benefit of the community. I am disappointed that you did not contact me to discuss the reasons why we may choose not to serve venison. I am also disappointed that you failed to recognize the safety of our neighbors and visitors as a priority that should not be tested over a burger.
We plan to continue the tradition of gathering and celebrating the coming of Opening Weekend. Whether its venison or beef, the grills will be smoking!
We look forward to seeing everyone on November 22nd.
Kim Swisher, Executive Vice President
Tomahawk Regional Chamber of Commerce