Community members honored at Chamber Banquet
Published 3:20 pm Monday, February 20, 2023
By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer
Honors and awards were passed out to businesses and community members at the 2023 Chilton County Chamber of Commerce Banquet on Feb. 17. Multiple community spirit, a lifetime achievement and two distinguished citizen awards were among the honors passed out at the 6th Street Warehouse during the event.
Guests filled the room to help recognize the winners, and were treated to a meal from Valle Grande Mexican Grill who catered the event.
“We are so thankful to everyone for the hard work and the dedication that each one of you put into your businesses, your community and the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce,” Rachel Martin, executive director of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce, said. “Thank you to all of our award winners for making Chilton County a wonderful place to live, and making our job easy. It is easy to support the people of this county because of the support and help they give us, and we really enjoy what we do every day.”
Donny Martin, who was born with cerebral palsy, has had a lifetime of service to his community and beyond. Martin was honored for that service with the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Chamber. Fellow Clanton Lions Club member Glenn McGriff presented Martin with the award and recounted some of his services in his lifetime such as becoming an Eagle Scout in 1953, donating over 20 gallons of blood throughout his life and serving on multiple boards in Chilton County.
Martin gave a speech after accepting the award and thanked everyone for the honor, and his family.
Clanton Mayor Jeff Mims was recognized as one of the 2023 Distinguished Citizens of the Year at the banquet. Clanton Councilman Billy Singleton presented the award to Mims.
“I see his dedication to the people of Chilton County each and every day, and I can attest that by any definition Jeff Mims is a true leader,” Singleton said. “He is an inspiration to those of us who serve with him, and I am extremely proud to stand behind him, and with him, as he continues to guide the city of Clanton to a prosperous and secure future.”
Mims thanked everyone for the award in his acceptance speech, and commended the people around him for their help in making his job easier.
“This is an honor … I love this city, and I always have,” Mims said. “I knew when I ran for Mayor I wanted to clean some stuff up and clean this city up. I think we have accomplished most of the things I campaigned on in two years and a few months … And we are not quitting. The people we have hired have made the difference, and I have some of the smartest people with me at city hall you could ever imagine.”
Two specific businesses in Chilton County were honored at the banquet — Maymay Made It and 6th Street Warehouse. Maymay Made It was awarded the Distinguished Business of the Year Award, and 6th Street Warehouse, owned by Samantha and Gene Foshee, was awarded the New Business of the Year Award.
Martin recognized two individuals as the 2023 Chamber Champions at the banquet.
“A Chamber Champion is someone who goes above and beyond for the Chamber staff,” Martin said.
Tim Carter of C&C Trophy and Sign Inc. helped the Chamber throughout the year with many different things including hauling items to and from the Chamber building and helping with landscaping around the building.
“He is always available when we have questions, need help and much more,” Martin said. “He has helped us with crazy requests, and Mr. Tim Carter is truly a Chamber Champion and a blessing to our community.”
Mark McKinnon of McKinnon Toyota and Nissan was also named a 2023 Chamber Champion recipient.
“If you come and talk to him about an idea that is going to be way too much work, but is going to be great for the entire community, he gets excited,” Brandy Clackley, assistant executive director of the Chilton Chamber, said. “Then, he tells you about some of the ideas he has as well. When it comes to a community event, you can bet he will be there to support it.”
Chilton Chamber Board Members Marilyn Colson and Diedra Gadberry presented 10 residents of Chilton County with Community Spirit Awards.
“The strength of America are its small communities, and the strength of the community is in the people that stay so busy taking care of each other, and the community’s business,” Colson said.
Kim Robinson, who helps the city of Clanton in a multitude of ways, was one of the recipients of the award. The Merchants Association of Chilton County was the second winner for the city of Clanton.
“Thank you so much to the Chamber for being so supportive of every crazy idea the Merchants Association comes up with,” Maymay Helms with MACC said. “Thank you so much for this opportunity, and I am so grateful.”
Tiffany Gaines of Olde Town Boutique and other businesses, and Hannah Pate of Impact Catering were the two Community Spirit Award winners for the city of Jemison. Both Gaines and Pate have opened businesses in the Jemison community that have taken off and been helpful to residents.
Two restaurant owners in Maplesville were honored with the Community Spirit Award for the town. Sergio Sanchez of Valle Grande Mexican Grill and Roman Heard of Heard’s BBQ were recognized for feeding their community with delicious food throughout the year and their service to the community.
Tiffany Hammock and Todd Bowen were the Community Spirit Award winners from the city of Thorsby for 2023. Hammock owns Farmhouse Cafe in the city, and Bowen helped the Chamber find a new building in downtown Clanton to house its staff and is helping bring in other businesses to Thorsby.
For Chilton County as a whole, Hannah Wilson of Special in a Small Town and Tondia Harrell Wilson were honored with the 2023 Community Spirit Awards for the county. Tondia Harrell Wilson volunteered with the Chamber at numerous events this past year and other service events throughout the county. Hannah Wilson was honored for bringing awareness to the needs of special needs children. She has brought new ways to make events in Chilton County more accessible and practical for families with special needs individuals.
“I am honored to receive this community spirit award, and I am even more honored that I get to live in a community that shows compassion for individuals with special needs,” Hannah Wilson said.
Former Chilton Chamber president Connie Bainbridge gave the opening remarks thanking everyone for coming out to the event, and for allowing her to serve as the Chilton Chamber president. Martin also introduced Darren Wilson as the new Chilton County Chamber of Commerce president during the event.