After a year away due to the pandemic, the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce was able to host its annual membership dinner last Thursday night.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, officials made the decision to move the annual dinner from its usual location at the Rough River Dam State Resort Park lodge to the Centre on Main in Leitchfield, as well as to scale down the number of attendees to only sponsors, President Circle members, award winners, presenters, and ambassadors.

Grayson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director April Spalding opened the event by discussing the efforts of the chamber and the local business community to persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic, and she commended the Grayson County community for adapting and supporting one another.

Spalding was followed by remarks from Grayson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors President Dan Phillips, of Bel Brands USA.

Phillips said the theme of this year’s chamber dinner was recognizing the people who, in extraordinary circumstances, accomplished great things.

Phillips also shared three values he had reinforced over the course of the pandemic: Human life is precious; people are social creatures; and no one is promised tomorrow. He said that, as the world sees the light at the end of the tunnel of the pandemic, it has the choice to either pretend it never happened or use the lessons learned to build a better future.

“I hope we do the latter,” said Phillips.

At the conclusion of Phillips’ remarks, the event moved into its awards ceremony.

First up, Phillips presented the 2021 Past President Award to last year’s board president, Jason Woosley, whom, subsequently and in lieu of the cancellation of last year’s dinner, presented the 2020 Past President Award to his predecessor, Misty Thomas.

Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Chair Linda Borland then presented the 2021 Ambassador Chair Award to Brad Mudd, of Designs by Brad and a long-time chamber ambassador.

Grayson County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development Kindra Jones then presented the 2021 Young Professional of the Year Award to Lance Johnson, whom she described as an example of service before self and a great community service volunteer who promotes the value of conservation.

Brad Mudd then presented the 2021 Spark Plug Award to the Leitchfield Tourism Commission for its efforts to beautify and revitalize the Leitchfield Public Square through initiatives such as the mural on South Main Street. Leitchfield Tourism Director Ilsa Johnson and Leitchfield Tourism Commissioner Joyce Mudd accepted the award on behalf of the commission.

Grayson County Extension Agent for Family & Consumer Sciences Natalie Taul, who also serves on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, then presented the 2021 Small Business Award to Studio Fit, a fitness center located at 209 West White Oak St. in Leitchfield. Studio Fit was recognized for providing online classes during the pandemic shutdown of gyms and fitness centers, as well as for allowing participants to check out its equipment to take home during this time.

H.W. Wilkey Elementary School Principal Lisa Skaggs then presented the 2021 Education Award to Wilkey’s curriculum coordinator, Amanda Brown.

Skaggs said Brown is a “tremendous colleague” and a “natural educator,” who loves her students and makes sure they know it every day. She cited the Wilkey Wave Parade, an event organized by Brown in which teachers and staff of the school drove by their students’ homes during the pandemic shutdown to wave at them, as an example.

Dr. Kenneth Green then presented the 2021 Medical Award to the Grayson County Board of Health for its work and leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Accepting on behalf of the board were Grayson County Judge Executive Kevin Henderson and Grayson County Public Health Director Joshua Horton.

Pharmacist Trevor Ray then recognized the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) with the 2021 Community Service Award for delivering prescriptions from all of the county’s pharmacies to the homes of patients whom could not get out during the COVID-19 shutdown. Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins accepted the award on behalf of the GCSO.

“In a very real sense, they saved lives,” Ray said.

And finally, Laura Goff, chair of the Grayson Nursing and Rehabilitation board, presented the 2021 Twin Lakes Award, also known as the Paragon of Leadership Award, to Grayson Nursing and Rehabilitation for its efforts to protect its residents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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