The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce has been in existence for fifty years and members gathered to celebrate this milestone during the annual banquet held Thursday night at the county complex auditorium
Ralph Vaughn, former manager of WJLE was the keynote speaker for the evening.
The program began with a silent auction, welcoming remarks by Chamber President Janna Gillard, presentation of the flags and pledge by members of Boy Scout Troop 347, and a performance of the National Anthem and Invocation by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver with entertainment by singer Josh Melton.
The winners of the annual Leadership DeKalb Alumni awards were honored
DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Chief Donny Green received the Community Leader of the Year Award and Liberty Mayor Edward Hale was presented the Legacy Award.
The Community Leader of the Year award goes to someone who has made a significant and positive impact on the county, specifically during 2012 and in a capacity beyond commitment to his or her profession. Green has led the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department as chief for several years. He also serves as Director of the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency and is a member of the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree Board of Directors.
The Legacy Award goes to the person or persons who have made a significant and positive impact on DeKalb County over a considerable period of time and in multiple or lasting ways. Hale has served as mayor of Liberty for 42 years, currently the longest serving elected public official in DeKalb County.
Special awards were presented to Suzanne Williams, who has served as Executive Director of the local Chamber of Commerce for ten years and to Jen Sherwood, director of Leadership DeKalb for fifteen years.
Director Williams gave an annual Chamber recap and a video was presented showcasing highlights of many activities and events held during the year.
Meanwhile, the retiring members of the Chamber board were recognized including Keith Blair, attorney; Mike Williams of the DeKalb County Fair Board; George Oliver of the Smithville Rotary Club; Jason Ray of the Leadership Alumni Class of 2009; and Rhonda Caplinger of Liberty State Bank.
New members are Kathy Hendrixson, Director of the DeKalb County Library System; Sherry Harris, owner of D & S Specialtees; Sue Conley, CEO for DeKalb Community Hospital and Stones River Hospital; Jeff Crips, Branch Manager of Regions Bank in Smithville; Raul Ramirez, Human Resources Manager at Federal Mogul; Shea Hays Colwell, Assistant Director of Nursing at NHC Healthcare in Smithville; and Stein Prichard, Manager of Prichard Foods in Alexandria.
The 2013 officers are President Janna Gillard, Vice President; Julia Cantrell, Secretary Valerie House, and Treasurer Jeff Crips.