Bonnie McCorkle has made a big promise.
As the new chairwoman of the Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. McCorkle has vowed to help make the chamber one of the best in the state.
"We must all become the heartbeat of this community," she said after receiving the gavel from outgoing Chairman Bobby Hildreth during the chamber's 39th annual banquet at Belle Meade Country Club on Jan. 25. "I want to give this job everything I've got -- 110 percent. I'm going to be committed in every way I can be to making our chamber be the kind of organization that all our members can say they are proud to be members of in this community."
Before her acceptance speech and the exchange-of-gavel ceremony, she drew the audience's attention with the sound of thumping heartbeats.
"The heartbeat you just heard represents each and every one of you here tonight," said the former co-owner of local business Peacock Hill. "You are the heartbeat of this community. Your business is a vital organ connected to the growth of our community, and each business represented tonight provides jobs and services that we need in our county, whether you employ two or 102."
Mrs. McCorkle pointed out that the economic welfare of McDuffie County "depends upon you and your employees. Without local business, where would we be? Can you imagine our city without a hospital, no factories, grocery stores or pharmacies? What if we didn't have our local newspapers or radio station? What if we had to drive to Augusta to pick up office supplies, buy lumber, concrete or fertilizer? Stop and think about how many people depend on your business or your neighbor's business. Aren't we lucky? I certainly think so."
Mrs. McCorkle said she and other new board members look forward to serving chamber members and promoting their businesses during 2011.
"We want you to know how much your business means to us and this community," she said.
She later introduced the new board members. They include Greg Derry, Elaine Bales, Bob Keith, Jason Smith, Donna Bussell, Frankie Galbreath, Dianne Landers, Beverly Raburn, Mark Swann, Lem Brooks, Bill Hopkins, Julie Langham, Tommy Samuels and Ken Williams.
For more information about the chamber, call (706) 597-1000.