In lieu of annual Gala, Chamber of Commerce named 2019’s finest and brightest last week
J.P. Barnard Jr., longtime Patterson businessman and contractor, is Citizen of the Year.
The announcement was made during the Pierce County Chamber of Commerce’s 65th annual meeting held online last Thursday evening, April 16, via a Facebook live video due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“This is not how I thought we would be celebrating our community superstars, but I am thankful for this medium,” Chamber Executive Director Angela Manders told viewers. “The type of leadership and servitude we celebrate tonight is what makes Pierce County exceptional. And, it is this perseverance and hard work that will take us through the current health and economic trials.”
Hundreds tuned in for the live event and the video has now been viewed more than 3,300 times, Manders reports.
Barnard and a host of the community’s finest were honored last week in a touching video tribute from some of their closest friends, family members and longtime community supporters.
Also among the Chamber’s yearly honorees are Composite Research (Sundance Boats) “Business Leader of the Year” and Thomas Family Farms, chosen Farmer of the Year.
Jerry Dixon, former Blackshear councilman and longtime Pierce County advocate, earned the Leona Dixon “Bright Spot” Award posthumously. Dixon, the son of Pierce County’s very first Bright Spot, Leona Dixon, passed away last year following a brief illness while still in office as a councilman for district five.
The Huel P. Walker Outstanding Educator Award was presented to Blackshear Elementary School Media Specialist Cassie Dyal. The Dow Nimmer Award was presented to Ray Cunningham, Patterson City Clerk and director of Eagle Station.
The Dr. Katherine Hendry Community Health Award was presented to the Southeast Cancer Unit for their tireless efforts to raise funds in support of cancer patients in Pierce, Brantley and Ware counties.
Although the awards were presented via video rather than in person, this year’s Gala theme of “Around the World” was fitting for the times we’re living in.
“Little did I know when we planned our “Around the World” gala that our world would be facing a pandemic,” Manders said. “We will not be rescheduling this year’s gala because all of our time, resources and energy here at the Chamber will be spent developing and implementing recovery strategies for our local economy. Yes, our world has been rocked, but this will not define Pierce County.”
The online awards program was sponsored by Georgia Power, Pierce County Industrial Development Authority, ATC Broadband, PrimeSouth Bank Blackshear, Satilla REMC, Bacon County Hospital, and Harris & Company PC
For more details on each award winner, see related article on Page 2 of the April 22, 2020 edition of The Blackshear Times.
Editor’s Note: Farmer of the Year, Dow Nimmer Award and the Huel P. Walker Outstanding Educator Award are selected by outside committees, but award recipients are honored in conjunction with the Chamber’s annual community award winners.