May 29, 2012 — This paraphrase of “it takes an entire village to raise a child” works for Morehead and Rowan County because what happened recently at the Morehead Conference Center.
As it has done for nearly 25 years, the Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual awards dinner to honor those who make this community better today than perhaps it has ever been.
A sellout crowd of Chamber members, civic and business leaders and guests enjoyed two hours of good food and warm fellowship as deserving individuals and community organizations shared the spotlight.
It was a night to remember, starting with the opening selection of Cracker Barrel and its $5 million investment and 185 new jobs as the “New Business of the Year” and ending with the multiple standing ovation response to the tributes to Sister Jeanne Frances Cleves of the Sisters of Notre Dame and St. Claire Regional Medical Center as the recipient of the Ora L. Cline Award, the Chamber’s top honor.
There were few, if any, dry eyes in the house when “Sister Jeanie,” as she is called by her countless friends, was recognized for her lifetime of service to God and humanity as a nurse here and in Indonesia.
Earlier, there was another popular decision honoring Christian service when Pastor Jeff Fannin of Bluebank First Church of God was given the “Service Above Self Award” for his 30-year commitment to the ministry and faith-based social service, including a food bank and dial-a-prayer.
An uplifting moment came when Judge-Executive Jim Nickell and Mayor David Perkins filled the stage with first responders to honor them with the “Community Partners Award” for working together to protect or rescue us from floods, tornadoes, fires and criminals.
Preparing 15,000 meals in 11 days for tornado victims and rescue workers made the Community Soup Kitchen the clear winner of the “Community Organization Award.”
Russ Ward was named “Educator of the Year” for his efforts in tripling the enrollment, expanding academic programs and improving the image and visibility of the Rowan Campus of Maysville Community and Technical College.
Shannon Malone got the “Business Beautification Award” for her success in transforming the former Dixie Grill into a modern hair salon called Studio JC.
Julie Stephens received the “Chamber Board Award” for her dedication to the Chamber’s efforts to help high school students with employability skills.
Several young professionals were recognized as graduates of the Chamber’s leadership program, an ongoing effort to make sure we never run out of leaders.
No question about it…our village is in good hands.