Chamber recognizes leaders

Published 11:28 am Thursday, January 24, 2019

Businesses, people and events in Buckingham County were celebrated, recognized and honored Tuesday night during the Buckingham Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Annual Awards Banquet.

Held at the Dillwyn Volunteer Fire Department, the banquet saw the Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award go to longtime Glenmore Volunteer Fire Department Chief Pete Agee; the Business of the Year Award to The Spa, owned and operated by Melissa Louis Wallace; the Volunteer of the Year Award go to tireless fundraiser and organizer Betty Shapiro; and the Youth Achievement Award to academic standout and community supporter Jaylen C. Anderson.

Also during the event, Krishna Jo Melendez was sworn in as Chamber president, along with Vice-President Jordan Miles, Board Chairman Eddie Slagle, Treasurer and Newsletter Editor Sandra F. Moss, Secretary Margaret Stout, and directors Faye Shumaker, Janet Miller, Wanda Albrecht, Nan Holt, Jewel Harris and Barbara Wheeler.

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The event also celebrated and recognized chamber members who go above and beyond the call of duty in setting up and organizing events, businesses named with the Community Pride Award throughout the year, and others that participated in the Chamber’s Business of the Month, in addition to the Chamber of Commerce acquiring the civic signs and displays from the Ruritan Club that sought to replace and enhance the four-sign locations across the county.

Miles, a Glenmore native, nominated Agee for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

He called Agee “one of Buckingham’s most quietest and humble leaders.”

“This man, a gentleman, I might add, is a fixture in the Glenmore community of Buckingham and has served with the Glenmore Volunteer Fire Department since 1968 — merely one year after it was founded. Soon after, he’d become the department’s chief — a role he’s held since he was first appointed and putting him among the longest serving fire department chiefs currently serving in Virginia.”

“Who would have thought that our small town would have such an outstanding business?” began Melanie Farrish, who nominated The Spa for the Business of the Year Award. “People from all ends of Buckingham and beyond come here to relax and enjoy The Spa located right here in Dillwyn!”

Farrish interviewed five clients of the business, all of whom offered excellent reviews, including, “I’ve been a customer of Melissa’s since she started her business. She has created an atmosphere of peace and tranquility for her customers. Her services leave you feeling very relaxed and rejuvenated!” and “The Spa staff is always extremely professional. I appreciate that she seems to always be trying new things to help benefit her clients. I very much like that she is flexible and has the reminder system in place.”

Dillwyn Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jason Wharam nominated Betty Shapiro for the Volunteer of the Year Award. His wife, Donna, read his nomination letter Tuesday.

Jason nominated Shapiro “in recognition of her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts to the Dillwyn Volunteer Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary and many other community-based activities. “Because of Betty’s hard work and efforts, she has earned the respect and gratitude of those around her in many aspects of her life. Betty has inspired and motivated many members of the Dillwyn Volunteer Fire Department to always give their best in all conditions,” Jason Wharam wrote.

Shapiro, who joined the auxiliary in 2007, became a member of the group because she wanted to give back to the community, Jason wrote. Shapiro is the incoming president and treasurer and president of the auxiliary.

She has been a “significant contributor” to many fundraising events for the department, including the womanless beauty pageant, cash bingo, and many other events, Wharam wrote.

“Betty works hard, loves people and always lifts the spirits of those around her. Betty is very compassionate about everything she involves herself in and continually exceeds expectations to this community with the service and support she provides,” Wharam said. “…Betty’s hard work and efforts should not go unnoticed as she makes a difference in our community and has positively impacted those around her in so many ways,” he concluded.

Miles, who nominated Anderson for the Youth Achievement Award, said Anderson is a 9th grade student at Buckingham County High School. “Since he was in elementary school, this young man has been highly involved in his school, church and community,” Miles said.

“He is the 9th grade Student Council Association representative at the high school. Jaylen, who is 14, volunteers in the concession stands at Friday night football games and is extremely active in the church (he sings in the choir, leads children church, reads announcements, leads prayer, and serves as a youth worship leader). Maintaining his service since he was in elementary school, Anderson still volunteers with Buckingham Active Seniors, and takes pictures at their events. Jaylen has helped senior citizens complete absentee voting ballot applications and and then has assisted them with their voting. He currently tutors a classmate in Spanish II and recently volunteered at Ellis Acres. This is just the tip of his academic and extracurricular iceberg.”

Miles said Anderson has done all this while maintaining an “A” average in classes and perfect attendance.

“Being a member and serving on the Chamber Board has been a wonderful experience,” Melendez said regarding being named Chamber President. “We pride ourselves with our skilled members, informative meetings, good food, and community-building events. I feel privileged to be elected the next president of the Buckingham Chamber of Commerce. I look forward to growing our chamber and serving our community to best of my ability.”