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Chamber hands out awards at annual membership meeting

At its annual membership meeting on Thursday, the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce shined a spotlight on many people and businesses for their outstanding work and support of the chamber.

GVACC Executive Director Carrie Royster first introduced Tarin Parrish, who has been with the chamber as an administrative assistant since February.

Several members of the ambassador committee were recognized.

“Without our ambassadors, many of these events, which the Chamber hosts, would not be possible,” Royster said.

The ambassadors Royster named were Ashley Beck of EAMC-Lanier, Bethany Roughton of Farmers & Merchants Bank, Cierra Horne of Point University, Dori Harmon of Harmon Insurance, Karen Bennett of Alabama Power, Mary Susan Underwood of Point University, Nancy Warren Holland with Renasant Bank, Rachel Snoddy of the Chambers County Extension Office, Stacey Hand of Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union, Tabitha Truitt of the Bradshaw Library, and TJ Wood of the Chambers County Sheriff’s Department.

“On behalf of the board of directors and chamber staff, we would like to say thank you for your dedication in serving this year as an ambassador,” Royster said.

Every year, the chamber recognizes an ambassador who dedicated a lot of time and service to chamber events and activities, Royster said. This year’s Ambassador of the Year award went to Beck.

“The chamber created awards in seven categories, and they are voted on by you, our chamber members,” Royster said. “Today, we will recognize the winners of these awards, awards given by chamber members to chamber members based on the impact they made this year.”

The Emerging Business of the Year award was given to Milltown Nutrition, represented by Brandon Carter and Morgan Boyle. The Small Business of the Year award was given to Grossman Law Firm, LLC, represented by Samantha Lowery. The Business of the Year award was given to Givorns Foods, represented by Shelvie Givorns.

The Retail Business of the Year award was given to Gimme Some Sugar, represented by Jennifer Graves. The Restaurant of the Year award was given to Milano’s Grille, represented by Melody Cox. The Industrial Business of the Year award was reserved for WestRock, which had no representative at the event. The Community Mover and Shaper of the Year award was given to nurse practitioner Carla Etherton-Moore of East Alabama Medical Center.

An award in memory of the late Charles Story in recognition of his dedication and service to the GVACC Board of Directors from 2019 to 2021 was presented to Beverly Story and Paul Story.

“As we close up this year, we want to take the time to remember and honor one of our own,” Royster said. “Mr. Charles Story was a great asset to our organization over the last few years.”

Royster said she was amazed at what the chamber had accomplished within the past year.

“The chamber has acquired 32 members, hosted a list of events including Holiday Fest on the Square, the shop local campaign, and two first responder appreciation lunches,” she said. “2021 was the second year the chamber awarded a scholarship to a junior ambassador. This year’s recipient was Kamdyn Oliver. Kamdyn is a graduate of Chambers Academy and now a student at Auburn University.”

The chamber has 40 junior ambassadors for this year’s program, which started this month, according to Royster. She said that in June, the chamber started a new tourism committee, which produced t-shirts with 30 local businesses, tourist attractions, and other locations printed on them. These shirts can be found throughout the county at local merchants.

The committee also started an antique store program in August that will run until next August. There are six participating antique stores. When a participant has purchased from four of these locations, they become eligible to win a gift card, Royster said.

The upcoming 2021 to 2022 board president, Kirby Hadaway of Wooshin, USA recognized the following board members: Adrian Holloway of Chattahoochee Hospice; Andrew Shoults of Knauf Insulation; Bill Smith of William L. Smith, Attorney at Law; Caleb Walls of West Frazier; Christy Stephens of Capital City Bank; Dr. Sharon Weldon of the Chambers County Board of Education; Greg Nichols of EAMC-Lanier Health Services; John Cochran of 4 Seasons Heating & Air; Lee Maples of Maples’ Antiques & Flowers; Samantha Lowery of Grossman Law Firm, LLC; and Merilyn Vines of Vines Funeral Home.

Platinum sponsors for the event were Knauf Insulation and Kia Georgia, Inc.

Silver sponsors were AJIN, USA; Alabama Power; Grossman Law Firm, LLC; West Fraser, and WestRock.

Bronze sponsors were Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union, Chattahoochee Hospice, EAMC-Lanier Health Services, Farmers & Merchants Bank, MainStreet Family Urgent Care, Maples’ Flowers & Design & Fairfax Village Antique Market, Point University, Renasant Bank, SouthState Bank, Valley Times News, West Point Coca-Cola Bottling Co., and Wooshin, USA.

Catering was provided by JB’s Butthouse.

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