[caption id="attachment_14830" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Henry Topel's sons, from left, David Topel and Avrim Topel, joined Sarah Willoughby, executive director of the Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau, during the dedication ceremony.[/caption]
The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted a special event Aug. 24 to dedicate its conference room to the memory of Henry Topel. Past and present board members, local dignitaries and members of the community attended the dedication.
Henry Topel founded the Bureau in 1978 and served on its Board of Directors in many different capacities, including Chairman of the Board, for over 30 years until his death on May 28, 2014.
Topel was recognized for his significant contributions to the tourism industry. Gov. Tom Carper inducted Topel into the Delaware Tourism Hall of Fame in 1995. Former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner and Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker presented state and city proclamations of gratitude to him in 2008. Gov. Jack Markell awarded the Order of the State, the highest award for meritorious service a governor can grant, to Topel in June 2012.
Henry Topel dedicated his life to business activities and community service. His commercial portfolio included hotels, office buildings, shopping centers and restaurants. In addition to serving as Vice Chairman of Beneficial National Bank, he was appointed Chairman of the Delaware Real Estate Commission and the National Advisory Community Investment Board.
He was elected State Chairman of the Democratic Party and President of the Democratic State Chairs Association of the United States and was selected as a delegate to the first White House Conference on Travel and Tourism.
The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau is a nonprofit organization founded in 1978, chartered by the Governor of Delaware, the New Castle County Executive and the Mayor of Wilmington. Its mission is to serve as the community's customer-focused destination marketing organization, generating economic growth through leisure travel and meetings development by aggressively marketing attractions, facilities, amenities and services for visitors