Chamber hosts annual award dinner

The Bell County Chamber of Commerce held its annual dinner at the Pine Mountain State Resort lodge on Friday.

The night’s proceedings were led by Bell County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheila Durham and Middlesboro Main Street Director Joanie Beaver, who announced the winners while having a bit of fun and games.

“Let me tell you all about the annual awards,” Durham said. “You have to be Chamber member to get an award. Anybody can vote…but it has to be a chamber member in order to receive an award.”

Durham then introduced Beaver to the crowd.

“Are you guys ready?” Beaver asked the crowd, which responded enthusiastically.

The pair joked for a bit before getting down to business and announcing the first awards.

“Our first award is for Outstanding Contribution,” Durham said. “This is awarded to someone whose personal commitments are made by volunteering themselves in Bell County, whether it’s by volunteering time, effort, expertise or resources.”

Beaver announced the winner, with the award going to the organization Crater of Hope.

The night’s other award winners included:

• Community Development – Dr. Vic Adams

• Young Entrepreneur – Dr. Daniel Slusher

• Beautification – Jay Shoffner

• Volunteer of the Year – Stephen Cambron

• Leadership Bell County – Boone Bowling

• Businessman of the Year – Michael Slusher

• Businesswoman of the Year – Rita Edmondson

• Business of the Year – Smithfield

The evening also featured the presentation of the Vets Serving Vets’ First Responder of the Year award, which included both 2021 and 2020 winners as the award was not presented last year due to the pandemic.

The First Responder of the Year awards were presented by Doug Bayless and went to Middlesboro Police Officers Jeremiah Johnson and Floyd Patterson.

The final award of the evening was the honorary award, which according to Durham is awarded to a corporate business which exhibits a competitive edge in on or more of the areas of customer service, workplace environment products and services, growth in business, employee retention, sales volume and profitability. The award went to Cooperative Christian Ministry.

The dinner wrapped up following the final award.