Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards

Individual and businesses that have contributed to the County over the past year were honored at the Annual Laurens County Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet, held Thursday night at Presbyterian College.

The Robert M. Vance Small Business of the Year award was presented to Walter Hughes of Sadler Hughes Apothecary of Clinton. Finalists for the honors were the other three quarterly winners from 2017: John & Lesley Mitchell of All-Dry of the Carolinas, Ron & Renee Brigman of Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps along with Danny and Kim Verdin of Verdin’s Farm and Garden Center and Verdin’s Too.

The chamber’s John P. Faris Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Jim Firmin of Firmin Ford, recognizing him for his influence, guidance, knowledge and hand-on dedication used to push the chamber forward.

The Spirit of the Chamber Award is presented annual to a member of the chamber who has demonstrated exceptional service to the organization’s mission to promote, strengthen and develop the county’s business community. Receiving this award for 2017 Thursday night was Marilyn Easter.

At each year’s Chamber Awards Dinner, Duke Energy presents its award for Public Service, recognizing an individual or individuals who set a standard and foster a culture for citizenship, service and community responsibility and who displays strong moral values such as integrity and stewardship.  Theo Lane of Duke presented this year’s award to Jeff Field, Director of the Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission. In addition to duties in that role over the past 12 years, Field was recognized for a large number of other responsibilities in the county from church to education, particularly for his work with the Laurens County Future Scholarship Committee.

The Laurens County Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassador of the Year for 2017 was Amber Graydon from Hospice of Laurens County. She was selected from the four Quarterly Ambassadors. Other quarterly honorees were Natalie Fleck of Carolina Gardens, Melinda Gray of Palmetto Heritage and Robi Owens of Cornerstone Investments.

The 2nd Annual Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award was presented to Captain Michael Coates of the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office. He was recognized for over 16 years of service to the county, as well as being active in his community and church.

The Cecil O. Davenport Citizenship Award recognizes students from local high schools each year. The 2017 Award was presented to Abbigail “Abby” M. Fulmer of Laurens District 55 High School. Runners-up for this year’s award were Priscilla J. “Cilla” Burns of Laurens Academy and Ava E. Machione of Clinton High School.

The Wendy’s Heisman Memorial Trophy was presented  to Elizabeth Childress and Issac MacMillan of Clinton High. Cali Heisey and Braylen Williams of Laurens High were also selected for the honor.

District Teachers of 2017 recognized Thursday night were Ms. Kerry Gambrell from District 55 and Ms. Carissa Messer from District 56.