By Louie Graves
A large and enthusiastic crowd turned out Monday night, for the annual chamber of commerce awards banquet, held in a glittering new venue.
The banquet was in Occasions, the special events center located in a spacious building that was once a supermarket on South Fourth Street.
The Man of the Year award went to Alan Green — property appraiser, fire chief, church song leader and rural electric board member, who was described as a “quiet volunteer” and a “silent servant” by the presenter, last year’s winner, Tim Pinkerton.
The Woman of the Year award went to Cheryl Power, who has served the community as a business owner, school teacher and school counselor, and who wears many civic hats in such efforts as the soup kitchen and as a supporter of foster families. “Where there’s a need, there she is,” said her presenter, Becky Floyd who won the award last year.
The Orange & Black Education Award was presented to Andrea Pinegar who co-founded what is now the Scrapper Supermarket which provides weekend, holiday and take-home food for 150 students in Nashville schools. She said the project literally began in a cabinet in her classroom, and she saluted many of her school colleagues who have been instrumental in the project’s growth. The award was presented by last year’s winner, Brian Bearden.
A Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Max Tackett — former county judge, former administrator of the regional solid waste district, and former school board member. The presenter was chamber director Mark Dale.
For the first time, the ‘Bloom Where You’re Planted’ award was presented, and it went to chamber director Andi Reeves Green, who, along with her husband, Hunter Green, launched Rehab Specialists, Therapy and Fitness Center. She is also the trainer for Scrapper athletics and is vice-president of the Nashville Rotary Club. Presenting the award was chamber director Mary Woodruff.
An emotional part of the program brought family members of deceased community residents to the stage for a memorial presentation. The citizens who died in 2019 included Jerry Jacobs, Vernon Wildbur, Charles Sharp, Andy Anderson, Thomas Strasner, Helen Millwood and Joey Jamison. Chamber president Loren Hinton emceed the memorial event and spoke about each of the honored, deceased community leaders.
Hinton also presented outgoing board president Tammy Gibson with an appreciation plaque. Hinton said that Nashville was a town that can “Stand big ideas,” and he suggested a big idea would be to grow the tourism industry.
He cited the significant nearby attractions of the Crater of Diamonds and Historic Washington State Park. Hinton leads the broadcast sequence at UA Cossatot, and is a past president of the Little River County Chamber of Commerce.
New and remodeled building awards were presented.
New building awards went to Husqvarna which unveiled its huge warehouse project, and to Pilgrim’s which moved into new office spaces in 2019.
Remodeled buildings cited included Rehab Specialists, Angel Nails, Smokehouse Pizza, Flex Gym, Lisa Chandler Insurance, What Fur, Hopping Nutrition Bar/Roobungee, Nashville Nutrition Den and ‘Occasions,’ the site of the event.
The Occasions venue is actually the sixth site where chamber banquets have been held. Other sites include the former Junior High Cafeteria on Sixth Street; the cafeteria at Nashville Elementary School, the Nashville High School ‘old’ and ‘new’ cafeterias, and the Family Activities Center o