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Chamber of Commerce Hosts Annual Banquet

Emerald G. Parsons: Greene Publishing, Inc.

The Madison County Chamber of Commerce held its 2018 Annual Banquet and Silent Auction on Monday, Oct. 8, at the Madison Church of God Family Life Center, in Madison. There were approximately 200 citizens in attendance, and approximately 25 more couldn't make it because of Hurricane Michael preparations.

The much-anticipated silent auction began at 6 p.m. with many gifts to bid on from area businesses. An array of prizes were on hand which included several out-of-town trips, tickets to football games, a Christmas wreath, spa certificates, gift baskets and much more.

While guests mingled, visited with friends and shopped through the silent auction items, they were treated to the beautiful singing of entertainer Kiley Thompson and the wonderful storytelling of Wanda Violet.

At 7 p.m., all the guests were seated and Phyllis Williams, Madison County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, welcomed everyone to the banquet.  Ina Thompson, City of Madison Commissioner, led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and Mike Kirkland, Church of God member, delivered the invocation.

A delicious supper of chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread and dessert was then served to the attendees.

Following supper, the new officers for 2018-2019 were then introduced. Kaitlynn Culpepper, will serve as the Chamber Chairman; Darren Webb will serve as vice-chairman; Jessica Webb, will serve as secretary; and Aaron LeGars will serve as the Treasurer.

The 2018-2019 Board of Directors were then introduced. Board members include Jerome Wyche, City of Madison Manager; Wayne Vickers, Board of County Commissioner; Eddie Bell, Town of Lee; Jada Woods Williams, individual member; Elesta Pritchett, Town of Greenville; Brandon Mugge, Hickory Hill Auctions; Carol Gibson, Madison District School Board; Tammy Stevens, Madison County Memorial Hospital; Kim Scarboro, North Florida Community College; Christy Roebuck, Individual Member; and Elizabeth Schmidt/Lisa Burnham, Saint Leo University.

Incoming Chamber Chair and Vice Chair, Kaitlynn Culpepper and Darren Webb presented special awards to four Madison County businesses for their outstanding work and dedication within our community. The winners were:

Small Business of the Year – Southern Grace Gifts (Chamber member for at least one year; business in Madison City or County limits with less than 25 employees; outstanding customer service; demonstrates growth and stability; growth through revenue and creation of jobs; and makes a positive impact on the community.)

Large Business of the Year – Madison County Memorial Hospital (Chamber Member for at least one year; Business in Madison City or County limits with more than 25 employees; outstanding customer service; demonstrates growth and stability; excellence in community relations and reliability; growth through revenue and creation of jobs; demonstrates economic support of the region; and makes positive impact on the community and volunteerism of employee base.)

Young Professional of the Year – Antonio Richardson, Tri-County Electric Cooperative System Engineer (Must own or be employed by a chamber member of at least one year; professional under 35 who has made a positive impact to his or her industry; maintains a devotion to community service; and civic engagement and economic development.)

Best in Customer Service Award – Ace Hardware (Chamber member for at least one year; chamber member that is dedicated to customer and client services; displaying consistent quality service and courtesy in the community.)

The guest speaker for this year's banquet was Lynne Brown, executive director for the John Maxwell Team, speaker/trainer/coach. She gave a very inspirational speech on the outlook of life and the importance of learning from your mistakes and making the future better because of them.

Following Brown's address, there were closing comments and the drawing for the Benelli Montefeltro 12-gauge shotgun. Wayne Williams was the lucky winner. The silent auction winners were also announced.

The presenting sponsor of this year's Madison County Chamber Banquet was Duke Energy. The gorgeous table decorations, made by Madison Florist, were once again sponsored by Madison County Community Bank.

A huge "job well done" goes to the Madison County Chamber of Commerce staff members Phyllis Williams, Executive Director; and Garrett Hammond, Administrative Assistant. This year's banquet was full of great food and fun for all those that attended.

A big thank you is extended to the Madison County Boyz to Kings young men, who escorted guests to their seats and helped serve the delicious meal. They were all dressed very nicely and were very courteous and friendly to everyone at the banquet. Another outstanding display from a great group of boyz!

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