42nd Annual Chamber Awards Banquet

The Laurens County Chamber of Commerce celebrated successes of 2019 and looked forward to 2020 last night during its 42nd Annual Awards Dinner, held at Presbyterian College. President and CEO Amanda Munyan highlighted some of the accomplishments for the past year, including 55 scholarships awarded for Workforce Development. She noted that since 1980, 440 people have graduated from the Leadership Laurens County program. Since 2013, 4,200 3rd grade students have completed the Team Ecology program teaching better treatment of our environment. She also noted ongoing promotion of thinking local.

Adult volunteer involvement in the annual Team Ecology program was just one of the programs benefitting Laurens County that was cited with this year’s John P. Faris Volunteer of the Year award. Each year the chamber recognizes an individual for outstanding dedication, participation and leadership. This year, the award was presented to Debbie Vaughn. Other areas of her involvement noted last night include extensive participation in the Laurens County Master Gardeners program. Some of the ways Debbie has assisted in successes of the Laurens County Museum Association in recent years were also cited. Debbie Vaughn was thanked for the “True Passion” she demonstrates for the community.

In other awards presented last night, Courtney Motes of Diverse Solution was given the Duke Energy Award for Public Service, citing her organizations work in teaching special needs individuals of Laurens County.

The Cecil O. Davenport Citizenship Award is presented annually to outstanding tenth grade students for their ability and innovation as youthful leaders. The 2019 award was presented to Catherine McKenzie Little of Laurens District 55 High School, daughter of Craig and Cathy Little. Runners-Up for this year/s citizenship award were Matthias (Ma Tee’ Us) Sebastian Bettger of Laurens High and Grace Adair Wiggins of Clinton High.

The Robert M. Vance Small Business of the Year award went to Forest Adair of Adair Apothecary. The Ambassador of the Year award was presented to Lee Anne Kitchen of Roper Staffing.

The Laurens Electric Cooperative Community Initiative Grant was presented last night to the Laurens County Trails Association. Director Bud Marchant accepted the award, which includes a $2,000 grant for trail development.

School District 56 Superintendent David O’Shields and incoming District 55 Superintendent Ameka Thomas joined the chamber last night in recognizing Teachers of the Year. These are Elizabeth Crowder of District 56 and Savannah Campbell of District 55. The Chamber also recognized the 2019 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Investigator Farrah Cook of the Sheriff’s Office.