The Lauderdale Chamber/ECD held its annual Membership Banquet on Friday, April 29th at Rolling Hills Country Club. In leiu of the Chamber turning 50 this year the banquet was moved from Thursday night to Friday night and entertainment was provided by “Magi”. The theme of this year’s banquet was a sport theme….Teamwork is the key to Success!!!!! Guest of Honor at this year’s banquet was Ramon Foster with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Renardo Foster with the St. Louis Rams. Executive Director, Susan Todd, welcomed everyone and thanked them for their support this past year. Board Chairman, Keith Davidson, spoke to the group and chamber members were given an update on all the Chamber activities for the past year as well as plans for the upcoming year.
The banquet this year included annual awards for the Large & Small Business of the Year and Citizen of the Year. These awards are designed to focus attention on deserving individuals and businesses and encourage excellence in our community.
Chamber Citizen of the Year went to Craig Fitzhugh. This award goes to an individual who is dedicated to family, community and business, showed leadership ability, demonstrated excellence in business, profession and/or avocation, is active in community organizations and has made or is making a lasting contribution to the community. Executive Director, Susan Todd, said that Craig fills all of these requirements and then some. He has been a tremendous support to both the chamber and our community. His involvement over the years in Lauderdale County has been tremendous and varied. He is continually working to make our community a better place to live and everyone that knows and works with him, speaks highly of him.
The Large Business of the Year award went to Komatsu and the Small Business of the Year award went to Lauderdale County Bank. These two awards represent businesses who are leaders in community service, have been recognized for excellence within their industry, support local organizations, promote economic growth, demonstrate growth and staying power and show excellence in management. A large business is any business that employs over 50 people.
Each year, the Chamber honors two individuals in our community who have outstanding contributions, who serve unselfishly and are dedicated to making this county a better place to live. Those awards went to Sue McLemore and Debra Danley. Both have been actively involved in their community over the years and have helped to make Lauderdale County a better place to live.
There were three new awards this year: Hometown Community Hero Award, Dedications Award & Make A Difference Award. Hometown Community Hero Awards were given to Ramon & Renardo Foster, the Dedication Award was given to Perry Williams for all his hard work and dedication toward the revitalization of downtown Ripley, & the Make a Difference Award was given to McDonalds for their support to the Chamber and to the community. The Chamber received a special award from United Way…it was a check in the amount of $800. This was a sponsorship for the Youth Leadership program.
Businesses were asked to design a centerpiece that would visually describe what their business is and does and go along with the theme this year which was a Sports them. Todd said she was thrilled with the response. We had a full house with 220 in attendance…the largest crowd ever! The first place winner was awarded a $100 discount on their chamber membership dues, second place - $50 and third place - $25. The competition was extremely close with some very creative centerpieces. I think everyone enjoyed seeing what everyone else had done. The big winner was Lauderdale Community Living Center, 2nd place was Asbury Cove and third place went to Promo Print. Todd would like to thank everyone for participating.
The Chamber recognized all of the 2010-2011 Board members and ambassadors.
The Chamber would like to thank all of the businesses who attended and made centerpieces. Todd said, “We had a packed room and I feel it was a big success and I look forward to the upcoming year.” The Chamber’s Staff, Board of Directors and Ambassadors are committed to serving Lauderdale County and we welcome any suggestions and/or comments.