Buckingham Chamber honors award winners

Published 7:38 am Saturday, February 4, 2023

The Buckingham Chamber of Commerce recently celebrated its successes and annual award winners at its recent banquet held at the Dillwyn Volunteer Fire Department in mid-January.

The award winners include Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Rebecca S. Carter, Volunteer of the Year Award recipient St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Business of the Year Award recipient The Cake Place, and Youth Achievement Award Courtney Agee.

Also during the banquet included installation of officers and the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

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“The Chamber of Commerce is proud to honor these deserving individuals and the business,” said Chamber President Thomas Jordan Miles III. “These people have contributed directly to the well-being of Buckingham County. I want every one of you to know that the State of the Chamber is very strong. 2022 was a great year for the Chamber. Our Board and membership recognizes that in any good community you need good businesses –  large and small –  which require our support. And that is what the Chamber does and does well and we are proud of that.”

Those sworn in on the Chamber Board of Directors include: Thomas Jordan Miles III, President; Brother Maximilian Watner, Vice President; Sandra Moss, Newsletter Editor and Chamber Founder; Faye Shumaker, Secretary; Ruth Lyle, Treasurer; and Directors Amy White, Eddie Slagle, Brenda Jones, Barbara Wheeler, Jewel Harris, Margaret Stout, and Justin Midkiff, who also serves as Clerk of the Circuit Court for Buckingham. 

Bro. Max nominated former longtime County Administrator Rebecca S. Carter.  She served the Buckingham community and the region for 35 years helping to lead the way for growth, innovation and industrial development in the County, he said. 

Carter started working for the county in 1986, first as an administrative assistant and then as county administrator, a job she would hold until retiring in June of 2021. 

Bro. Max noted that Carter worked with many different members of the Board of Supervisors to help make countless positive changes in the County. 

Buckingham Chamber“She worked with the Town Council of Dillwyn for the replacement of its aged water and sewer lines and facilitated the County’s purchase of Dillwyn’s wastewater facility,” Max said. “Over the next several years, she helped the County to obtain over $13 million in grants to build a new water system facility, extend water lines, and upgrade and extend sewer lines along the Route 15 and Route 20 corridors.”

Watner also noted that under Carter’s leadership, the County built a new administration complex and renovated the historic county courthouse. The Carter G. Woodson School complex on Route 20 was renovated and upgraded, the vacant Gold Hill School building was put to profitable use and a full-time, countywide emergency rescue squad was formed. 

Director Faye Shumaker nominated St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, noting “the nominee seeks to serve the community in every possible way.”

She said as a team “they have worked to pick up more than 600 bags of trash…Imagine the size of a trash pile containing that many bags, a small mountain, for sure.”

Shumaker noted the seminary’s work on the inherited Ruritan Club community organization signs across the county that the seminarians performed “quite a bit of work” on. 

Suzanne Vandergrift, Vice President of the Buckingham-Dillwyn Garden Club, nominated The Cake Place in Dillwyn, owned and operated by C.V. Swann.

“This small business owner opened her doors in October 2020 when our country was deep in the pandemic,” Vandergrift said. “Opening any business during that time was risky, but a food business…most people would have called her crazy. But she saw an opportunity…to build a small business in a small town and a fabulous bakery was born in Dillwyn.”

Casey Dunkum, a high school agriculture teacher, nominated Agee. 

Agee is a Senior at Buckingham County High School, Dunkum said, noting she was a well-rounded person, “full of potential. I have had the pleasure of working with Courtney for many years through the FFA and I am truly amazed at her work ethic.” She added that Agee is a student in the local community college’s Governor’s School and ranked ninth in her class. She serves as FFA President, her class’ spirit coordinator, is on the Student Council’s Executive Board and Scholastic Bowl Team Member. 

“Courtney works at her Family’s business, Dillwyn Repair Service. She does a great job assisting customers,” Dunkum noted, adding she also volunteers with the Glenmore Volunteer Fire Department. “Courtney has participated in almost every event the (FFA) chapter has sponsored. She has served as an officer for several years and is currently chapter president. She is the first to volunteer to help an advisor or help coordinate the officers.”

Dunkum noted Agee has participated in VCE Cooperative leadership camps, where she placed in the Top 10. “Courtney is a model of integrity that is truly refreshing…Her senior quote is Romans 12:12: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer…Through her trials, she has overcome them with her faith and support of her family and friends.”