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Progress 64 West Awards Banquet scheduled for Nov. 27.

Chris Zimmerman [St. Louis Blues photo]

Civic development organization Progress 64 West will host its 32nd Annual Excellence in Community Development Awards Banquet at 11:30 a.m. [doors open at 11:15 am.] Wednesday, Nov. 27 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Chesterfield.  

Chris Zimmerman, president of the St. Louis Blues, is the keynote speaker. 

Zimmerman will address this year’s theme of “Perseverance” and the overwhelming impact the Stanley Cup series had on the St. Louis region.

The 2019 Excellence in Community Development Awards will be presented to The St. Louis Blues Organization, American Cricket Academy, Chesterfield Hockey Association, and St. Charles County Manufacturing Day. These organizations will be recognized for their outstanding contributions in the areas of infrastructure, job creation and regional cooperation.

The American Cricket Academy started out as the dream of one man, Ajay Jhamb, to preserve his culture and national past-time for generations of Indian American youth. In 2016, after years of trying, Jhamb found a home for his cricket club when Dardennne Prairie Mayor David Zucker and the city’s Board of Aldermen provided $26,887.35 to construct a cricket pitch in Barathaven Park. Over the following year, that investment was paid back by the club and its donors. The club now is recognized as one of the nation’s best youth cricket academies.  

When the Hardees Iceplex closed its doors in 2017, the Chesterfield Hockey Association immediately began searching for a location upon which to build an ice arena that could support the needs of youth, high school and college hockey. In August 2019, the Maryville University Hockey Center, an 84,000-square-foot arena with two NHL-sized ice rinks and room for 2,000 spectators opened in western Chesterfield Valley. 

Held annually each October, St. Charles Manufacturing Day, is designed to expand knowledge about and improve general public perception of manufacturing careers and manufacturing’s value to the North American economy. 

Also among those exhibiting the trait of perseverance are the 2019 winners of the Progress 64 West/Louis S. Sachs Scholarships. These area high school seniors have created business plans as part of their application process, and will be awarded scholarships in the amount of $5,000 and $2,500.

Receiving Progress 64 West’s Lifetime Achievement Award are Ernie Dempsey and Chesterfield Police Chief Ray Johnson. When Johnson came to Chesterfield in August 1988 he was given just 10 months to have the fledgling department ready to go. The newly incorporated city would rely on St. Louis County Police to provide law enforcement services on a contract basis until then. It was a dream job for the man who has been Chesterfield’s top cop ever since. 

Johnson is a model law enforcement officer, who helped the city of Chesterfield to weather the Flood of ‘93 and its police department to earn continuing International Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. 

In 1970, Ernest W. Dempsey, Ernie to his friends, became a partner in Pio’s Restaurant in St. Charles. In 1975, he became its owner. In the years that followed, Dempsey became a community leader, serving on the boards of the Boys and Girls Clubs and United Services for Children. In 1994, he was named Citizen of the Year by the St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce.

Individual tickets are $85 per person. To register for tickets and sponsorships, visit or call (314) 795-2200 or email
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