Farmville Area Chamber hands out Business Awards
Published 12:01 am Saturday, January 27, 2024
The Moton Museum was packed late last week, as the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards ceremony. Eanes Catering delivered the food, B & M Greenhouse provided the plants and the band Jackson, Pendergrass and Townsend were on hand, offering music throughout the night.
Dr. Chip Jones, Superintendent for Cumberland County Public Schools, is also a member of the board of directors for the Chamber. Jones appreciated the museum staff for making the event possible and letting them use the building for the ceremony, which celebrates achievements in the community.
“It is nice to see people get recognition for their work and to have their family, friends, and colleagues there to celebrate the special moment,” Jones said. “One of the highlights was listening to the recipients give us a “taste of their story” and how it all started. This makes the celebration a bit more impactful.”
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And the crowd was there for that reason, to see whose names got added to the list of award winners. Business of the Year, for example, went to Merk’s Place. Nonprofit of the Year went to Piedmont Area Veterans Council and Community Resources. The Leadership in Education Award went to Jones, after a year where all of his schools excelled. Each school in the state receives a “quality rating” of Level One, Two or Three when being considered for accreditation. Level One means you meet or exceed the state standards. Level Two means you’re showing improvement, but haven’t quite got there yet. Finally, Level Three means there are issues, as the school is performing below state standards. In Cumberland’s case, most of the ratings for all three schools came in at Level One.
“I was honored to win the Education Leadership Award,” Jones said. “This area has so many fabulous educators that go above and beyond each and every day. I am not sure it has fully sunk in yet that I was chosen. I am extremely grateful.”
The Young Professional of the Year Award went to Cainan Townsend, who also had a heck of a year. After being named executive director for the Moton Museum, Townsend also ran for and won a seat on the Prince Edward County School Board.
“I was very humbled and honored to receive the Chamber Award for Young Professional of the Year,” Townsend said. “I want to say thank you again to the Chamber. It truly meant a lot that the working happening at Moton is being recognized in this way and that I can serve as a vehicle of that work. I am grateful to my family, friends and the museum for keeping me going.”
Farmville Area Chamber celebrates
New Business of the Year went to Grateful Fed Catering Company. Tammy Nelson opened her shop over the last year, delivering what she calls “elevated Southern food” through her catering company. In America, 40% of food is thrown out. Comparing it to a local Hello Fresh, Nelson is also working to create meal boxes to reduce waste and help families get more healthy foods into their diets.
Chamber Member of the Year went to Andrew Payne, with Sarah Mullins-Spears honored as the Citizen of the Year and Jacquelyn Reid chosen for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Finally, it was Sandy River Distillery taking home the Small Business of the Year Award.