Congratulations to the Chamber for another great banquet

Published 7:53 am Friday, January 25, 2013

What a pleasure it was to attend the Bainbridge Decatur-County Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards banquet Thursday night. The turnout for the event was great, the food was wonderful, and the program was fantastic.

Not only were we able to look back and celebrate the accomplishments and activities of the Chamber from 2012, we were able to recognize some very deserving community members with individual awards.

Congratulations to Bruce Kirbo Sr. for being named Man of the Year and to Missy Rollins for being named Woman of the Year. You don’t have to look very far to see fingerprints from both people in this community from a long time of community service. These two were chosen from a group of much-deserving nominees, each one offering vital service to making Bainbridge and Decatur County a great place to live, do business, and raise a family.

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Congratulations to my friends at Palmer Insurance Agency for being named Small Business of the Year. To me, Matt Palmer and his staff exemplify the notion of “paying your civic rent.” I am proud to consider Matt my friend and he definitely leads by example with his volunteerism and financial contributions in the community.

In what I was told was a very tough decision, the two other finalists for Small Business of the Year were Cooper’s Heating and Air and DeHildren Realty, two other very deserving businesses. The common denominator among all three of these businesses is involvement. They are involved in what’s going on in the community and all should be commended.

I had the pleasure of presenting the Peace Officer of the Year award to Decatur County Correctional Officer Willie Norris Brown. In my introduction of Brown, I mentioned that his act of selflessness in taking control of a volatile situation inside the prison lived up to the spirit of the Montford-Lynn Award. And his acceptance speech lived up the humbleness and sincerity that we would hope a winner of this award would have.

The Community Service Award winner was Mike Clinton. Mike is a painting company owner, who I don’t think has ever responded with a “No” when asked to help out in the community. Mike is the type of guy that I like to call a “Great American.” He works hard for his company and he works hard for his community.

Many thanks go to Charles Tyson for his astute leadership while in the role of Chamber chairman the past year. Charles, as many of you know, doesn’t really know the meaning of the words “can’t do.” He is a “let’s do” kind of guy and Bainbridge is better place because of that.

Scott Ewing is the 2013 Chamber chairman and will no doubt do a great job. With Scott’s leadership and along with the Chamber’s full time staff’s — Diane Strickland, Kim Walden and Ali Dowdy — excellent daily work, the Chamber will continue to serve its members and business community in the coming year.