Lee County E-Awards
The E Awards are named for Elaine McLaughlin, a longtime tourism advocate who retired in 2000 as executive director of Lee’s visitor bureau. This year’s event had a well-suited Roaring ’20s theme — and there were plenty of roars, applause and table-pounding for the nominees, honorable mentions and winners.
The awards, recognizing Lee County’s tourism stars who go above and beyond the call of duty every day, were canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, the event came roaring back, with more than 400 attending the face-to-face celebration held at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center in downtown Fort Myers. Attendees received an E Awards mask and many at the event wore that special mask or their own. Presenters wore masks except when they were speaking
Residents, visitors and colleagues wrote 627 nominations for 467 individual nominees. After bringing every nominee in attendance on the stage one by one for recognition, the bureau presented awards in seven categories.
Addressing the crowd, McLaughlin said she felt humbled to have her name associated with the event — and it seemed unbelievable that it hit its 21st anniversary this year.
E Awards categories include:
*Masked Hero is a special 2021 category that recognizes an individual that went above and beyond in a situation related to COVID-19.