A full house at the Occasions special events center welcomed back the annual Nashville Chamber of Commerce awards banquet after a year hiatus due to Covid, Monday night.
The principal attraction was the presentation of citizenship awards. Banquet-goers looked over and bid on silent auction items, and a delegation of 4-H’ers served the meal which was prepared by Patacakes.
Past president Loren Hinton welcomed the crowd and served as master of ceremonies, in addition to presenting a past president’s plaque to Mark Dale who called the 2021 board of directors to the stage. President for 2022 is Carlos Martinez. New board members include Cole Law and Aaron Tollett; outgoing board members include Hunter Green, Jonathan Bauer and Max Pratt. Awards were generally presented by Mike Reese, former board president who is now executive director, and former president Tammy Westfall.
“We’re so glad to be back,” Hinton said as he launched the evening’s program.
Woman of the Year — Stephanie Harrison, a businesswoman who “Wears many aprons,” was saluted for her many civic connections through Patacakes which she founded with her friend, Wendy Haddan, her church and civic organizations such as Junior Auxiliary and PEO. “She has a servant’s heart,” said former winner Cheryl Power who presented the award.
Man of the Year — Greg Furr, who founded his construction business here and has supported such projects as the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen and the Farmers’ Market with labor and materials. The award was presented by emcee Hinton.
Orange and Black Award — Patricia Elliott, 35 years with Nashville public schools as art teacher. She has announced her plans to retire. She was lauded for her involvement with the school and students by her boss, Supt. Doug Graham, who made the presentation.
New and remodeled business building awards went to Edward Jones Investments, Nashville Vision Center, Hostetler Builders, Hoppin Nutrition, HMH Pediatric Therapy Services and Misty Wilson. New business awards went to Nutrafit Nutrition, Patacakes, Cossatot Propane and UNLEASHED Dog Hotel.
A new award, the Community Spirit award, was presented to the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen, represented by Tem Gunter and Geneva Walton, officers of the organization.
The late Mary Woodruff — who died while serving as City Clerk, and was a former chamber president — was remembered with the Memorial Recognition Award. Members of her family were present to receive the plaque.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was accepted by Anna Blase for her late husband, Rev. David Blase. The presentation was by Rev. Kevin Sartain of First Baptist Church. Rev. Blase was longtime pastor at First Baptist Church in Nashville and First Baptist church in Dierks. He was a founder of the Ministerial Alliance, and was described as a pastor for the whole town.
The Scrapper Pride Award – Johnny Wilson was hired right out of college as a math teacher at Nashville High School. He became a celebrated baseball coach and teacher until his retirement, but continued to serve for 50 years as pressbox voice at Scrapper Stadium. The presentation was by Supt. Graham who said that every time he visits another stadium and hears another announcer trying to be a clown or hometown rooter, he rejoices that Nashville has Wilson.
NHS cheerleaders were recognized as National Cheerleading Association champions. They performed their winning routine for the audience. Supt. Graham presented a plaque to the squad and to their sponsor, Erin Askew.
Chamber executive director Reese said that attendance was more than 320.