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38th chamber banquet honors those who go above and beyond

Approximately 200 people attended the 38th Annual Membership Banquet of the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce Tuesday night.

"I don't care what Washington says, this group right here is what makes the wheels turn," Charlie Lewis said in a speech.

"I mean look around -- I see jobs. I see opportunities."

Angela Blair, who was the 2009 Board of Directors chairwoman, recognized outgoing directors Kathy Hawkins and Andy Knox Jr. and gave highlights of their accomplishments during their tenures.

"They went the extra mile and brought so much to our board. They will be greatly missed," she said.

After presenting special awards, Mrs. Blair passed the gavel onto the 2010 Board of Directors Chairman, Bobby Hildreth.

"If all the board members spoke at once, then you wouldn't be able to understand us, so one is chosen to speak for all. I'll be that spokesperson for you this year," Mr. Hildreth said.

"I will not be able to work as hard as Angela did for the chamber of commerce, but I'm going to work very, very hard."

Mr. Hildreth recognized ex officio members and chamber staff members. In order to better serve the needs of the membership, Mr. Hildreth said a survey will be sent to all members.

He also asked for suggestions of a dinner/fundraiser idea the chamber could use to replace Dinner By The Tracks.

Keynote speaker of the evening was Pam Carnes, the president and CEO of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce. When introducing her, Mayor Usry said the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce membership increased from 500 to 1100 under Mrs. Carnes' leadership.

Mrs. Carnes encouraged chamber members to focus on the year ahead, set goals, make sure every project and event meets the mission of the organization, and base decisions on what's best for the chamber and county as a whole.

She also gave characteristics of a good leader which included dedicated, determined, dependable, kind, a good listener, enthusiastic and working with a positive attitude.

"You have an awesome responsibility as a chamber of commerce to make McDuffie County a great place to live, a great place to conduct business and a great place to educate future generations," she said.

Web posted on Thursday, January 28, 2010

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