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Carrie Royster (on the right), GVACC executive director, talked about what the Chamber has in store for 2020 at Thursday’s meeting of the West Point Rotary Club. At left is Shannon Craig, GVACC administrative assistant, and at center, Elinor Crowder, program chair. --Wayne Clark

Chamber director speaks at Rotary Club

LANETT — Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carrie Royster was the guest speaker at Thursday’s noon hour meeting of the West Point Rotary Club. She reviewed what the Chamber did in 2019, previewed what’s in store for 2020 and concluded her presentation with a 15 question pop quiz, testing members of the club on their knowledge of the Chamber and local history. The testing, of course, was all in fun but did make for some interesting conversation.

Royster has been with the Chamber for six years altogether and has been the director for the past year. She’s proud of the fact the GVACC has attracted close to 120 new members over the last two years. Total membership stands at 330.

“When I started with the Chamber six years ago, we had less than 200 members,” she said. “It’s good to be growing. In many cases when I got out and visited local businesses, I found that no one had ever asked them to join the Chamber before.”

She cited a partnership between the Chamber and Bradshaw-Chambers County Library on a universal class is something good that’s taking place now.

“It gives you a chance to participate in any of 500 classes,” she said.

This past year, the Chamber named two students of the month at the local Boys & Girls Club and had the help of 15 ambassadors and 44 junior ambassadors.

“In the last three months, we have had five ribbon cuttings,” Royster said. “In November, we hosted Real Life 101. A total of 650 local high school juniors and seniors took part in three break out sessions at Southern Union. The students really liked it. On Nov. 12, we had a Lunch N Learn program on the subject of labor laws, and on Nov. 23 we had our annual Holiday Fest on the River in downtown West Point. A total of 58 vendors signed up for it. It rained that weekend, but most of the vendors were there. We had a lot of them under the pavilion. In December, 19 of our junior ambassadors were certified in CPR. We thank Matt Shiver and Noah Hurst of Lanett Fire & EMS for offering the class.”

The Chamber’s next big event will be the St. Patrick’s Day on the River in West Point. With good weather, there should be a good crowd there for it on Saturday, March 14. Two days before then, on Thursday morning March 12, there will be a Catch Up Over Coffee event at Tasty Donuts in Lanett.

There will be an Education Awards Day and a Cyber Security Lunch N Learn this spring along with some active shooter training.

Royster’s fun quiz had the following questions:

(1) What four cities does our Chamber serve? Answer: West Point, Lanett, Valley and LaFayette;

(2) How many current Chamber members are there? Answer: 330;

(3) Where is the Chamber office located? Answer: behind McDonald’s in Valley;

(4) What year was the Chamber organized? Answer: 1963;

(5) What local city was once known as Chambersville? Answer: LaFayette;

(6) What local city was once known as Bluffton? Answer: Lanett;

(7) What Academy Award-winning motion picture was filmed in LaFayette? Answer: Mississippi Burning;

(8) What local city was incorporated in 1980? Answer: Valley;

(9) At what strategic location and in what local city did a Civil War battle take place on April 16, 1865? Answer: Fort Tyler in West Point;

(10) Where can the City of LaFayette’s first fire truck now be seen? Answer: the Chambers County Museum in LaFayette;

(11) At what location in northwest Chambers County was there a ferry across the Tallapoosa River and what was the name of the boat? Answer: Bibby’s Ferry and the Tallapoosa Queen;

(12) What world-famous boxing champion was born in Chambers County? Answer: Joe Louis (Barrow);

(13) What local Christmas tradition started on the Fairfax little league ball field in 1956 has drawn more than three million participants since then? Answer: the Christmas Merry Go Round;

(14) What two rivers border or flow through Chambers County? Answer: the Chattahoochee and the Tallapoosa;

(15) What is Oakwood Cemetery in Lanett famous for and who is buried there? Answer: a doll house; Nadine Earls.