Community awards

Who do you think has contributed the most to the wellbeing of our community throughout the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic? Now is your chance to highlight their efforts.

The Pierce County Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations of locals who invest in making our hometown a better place to live, work and play. Following an unprecedented year in which the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc in so many ways, 2021 community award selections will focus on recipients who contributed either to an ongoing economic recovery effort or supported the community by providing aid of some kind during the pandemic.

Awards include Citizen of the Year, Business Leader of the Year, Leona Dixon Bright Spot Award and the Dr. Katherine Hendry Community Health Award.

Award winners will be honored during a virtual ceremony this year due to the pandemic. More details will be announced later.

Award nominations should be emailed to the Chamber of Commerce at by February 19. The Chamber Board of Directors will vote the following week. Nomination letters should include the name of the nominee, contact information for you and the nominee, the award name, and all the reasons why you are making the nomination.

The Citizen of the Year award recognizes an individual with outstanding leadership and citizenship in the community, a person who demonstrates vision, civic pride and commitment to the betterment of society, specifically as it relates to the pandemic. The individual does not have to be a member of the Pierce County Chamber of Commerce or the business community. An individual from any walk-of-life may be nominated. This lifetime achievement award is the highest honor given by the Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.

The Business Leader of the Year recipient is a Pierce County individual (or business) who demonstrates innovation, initiative and civic responsiveness. This year, award nominations should be focused on business leaders and/or companies who managed their business successfully through the pandemic, were responsible in maintaining health guidelines and innovative in adapting their business model to best meet the needs of the public and their employees during the pandemic. The business must be a Chamber of Commerce member, have significant business achievements, industry awards or other notable achievements. The nominee should exhibit leadership in business and community affairs and be an innovative person who shows creativity in business decisions or in development of specific products or services.

The Leona Dixon Bright Spot Award is presented to a person, business, or organization which has made a positive impression and exemplifies the grace, enthusiasm and love of community as demonstrated by the first “Bright Spot” award winner – Leona Dixon. Award nominations this year should be focused on individuals whose community impact was related to the pandemic in some way. The award recipient may be from any walk-of-life. Membership in the Pierce County Chamber of Commerce is not a requirement.

The Dr. Katherine Hendry Community Health Award is presented to the person, business or organization demonstrating selfless, innovative and community-focused work in health care as set forth by the late Dr. Hendry. The recipient will have made an impact on the overall health of our community as it pertains to the pandemic. Membership in the Pierce County Chamber of Commerce is not a requirement.

The Dow Nimmer Award, Huel P. Walker Educator and Farmer of the Year are also presented with the Chamber’s community awards but are chosen by outside committees.

Last year’s Citizen of the Year was longtime Patterson businessman and contractor, J.P. Barnard Jr.  Jerry Dixon, former Blackshear councilman and longtime Pierce County advocate, earned the Leona Dixon “Bright Spot” Award posthumously. Dixon, was the son of Pierce County’s very first Bright Spot, Leona Dixon. Other 2020 award winners included Composite Research (Sundance Boats) – Business Leader of the Year; Southeast Cancer Unit – Dr. Katherine Hendry Community Health Award; Thomas Family Farms – Farmer of the Year; Cassie Dyal – Huel P. Walker Educator and Ray Cunningham – Dow Nimmer Award.