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Chamber awards members

POSTED: March 7, 2012 4:00 a.m.
Chelsea Thomas Dawson Community News/

Linda Williams talks to the crowd during the Chamber of Commerce 21st Annual Gala last Friday.

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Passengers set sail Friday night aboard the USS Dawson for an Italian adventure on the high seas.

The virtual cruise and gala was a night to celebrate the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce's accomplishments of 2011 and honor many in the community for their contributions.

Linda Williams, president of the chamber, praised the honorees as those who have risen to the top as leaders.

"Volunteers are who make this organization run," she said.

Peter Hill was recognized as the chamber's Volunteer of the Year for his contributions to Leadership Dawson, a program he co-chairs.

"What I can say about the chamber and the leadership group in particular is I'm honored to be part of it," he said.

The chamber also presented awards for top ambassador, business leader and entrepreneur.

Brooke Anderson, general manager at Etowah Water and Sewer Authority, was named business leader of the year.

Anderson called the recognition, which he shared with the authority's board of directors and staff, a humbling experience.

Jay and Vickie Hood, who own CitruSolution, a carpet cleaning business, were named entrepreneur of the year.

"I'm totally blown away," Vickie Hood said. "This is a total surprise and shock."

Steve Melching was selected as the chamber's Ambassador of the Year.

The gala was the last official order of business for 2011 chamber chairwoman Stephanie Mathis, who passed the gavel to Jennifer Baker for 2012.

"It's been a great year and I've made a lot of good memories," Mathis said.

As outgoing chair, Mathis also presented Doris Cook with the chairman's award for her involvement not only in the organization but across the county.

"This is one of the best things that's happened to me in a very long time," Cook said.

In its 21st year, the gala is also the chamber's largest annual fundraiser.

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