The Annual Butts County Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet was held on Saturday, March 4th, 2017 at the Jones Family Farm on Stark Road. The banquet is the Chamber’s signature annual event and, in addition to being the yearly business meeting of the organization, it is also the event where a number of citizens, businesses and organizations are recognized for their good works in the community. This year’s awards and recipients included:
- Hall of Fame Award, which is the Chamber’s highest recognition given to an individual for many years of service or a body of work that has made a positive and lasting impact on the County through significant contributions of time and effort. The recipient of this year’s award was Jim Westbury, honored for over 52 years of service to the community.
- Citizen of the Year Award, which is the Chamber’s highest recognition given to an individual whose work over the previous year has brought distinction and honor to the County. This year’s recipient was Tyler Garland, for her work chairing the efforts to rehabilitate the old Hawkes library building through the “Friends of the Hawkes Library” committee.
- Outstanding Organization Award, which is presented by the Chamber to a community-based non-profit organization for works performed during the previous year that has been beneficial to the community. This year’s recipient was the organization “Shoes for God’s Children” which was started by the late Will Avery Cook several decades ago and continues today under the guidance of his daughter Ava Smith. The organization provides shoes for needy children in the community.
- Business of the Year Award, which is presented to a member of the Chamber who has earned a reputation for integrity and community service, and which has had a positive impact on the county as a place to live, work and operate a business. This year’s recipient was was Integrated Turf Management, owned and operated by Carson and Haley Browning.
- Employee of the Year Award, which is presented to an employee who has involved themselves in community activities, outstanding work, employee involvement or contributions that have made their business distinguished in the county. This year’s recipient was Shane Thompson, who is the Chief of the Flovilla Fire Department.
- Shining Light Award, which is presented to an individual or individuals for acts which have given them distinction as community or civic leaders over the past year. This year, Shining Light Awards were presented to Friends of the Hawkes Library, Shannon O’Neal, Richard Kapiloff, Mike Browning and the City of Flovilla Employees and Volunteers.
In addition to the awards section, the annual Chamber business meeting was held, which included the recognition of outgoing board members, the installation of incoming board members and the passing of the Chairmanship from Mike Wilson to Cindy Jo Murray.
One of the highlights of the Chamber Banquet was the table decorations, which are each done by a local business or organization in the community. These table decorations represent Butts County and showcase the creative talents of many individuals who give their time to decorate them. The Chamber had independent judging of tables and a prize awarded for the best one at the event resulted in a tie between the Butts County Sheriffs Office and Westbury Nursing Home.
Special thanks is given to Melinda McLarnon, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce and her volunteer team for once again coordinating a very successful Chamber of Commerce banquet.