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Chamber awards members
Volunteer encourages Haiti support
5 Chamber Banquet pic2
Chamber of Commerce members gathered Jan. 22 at the Lakeview Center for the annual Gala event. - photo by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Taylor Wallace admits he spends a whole lot of time traveling throughout the community asking other people for money in support of several local service organizations.


Friday night he continued that pledge as he accepted the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year award at the Lakeview Center.


“Before I say anything, you can text the word Haiti to 90999 to donate to the Red Cross,” said Wallace, who sits on the local Red Cross and United Way board of directors, as well as last year’s chamber board.


Linda Williams, president of the chamber, described Wallace as a man of true passion for what he believes is important.


“I have seen first hand the commitment he makes to projects he pledges to support. He is truly an empathetic person who works tirelessly to help his fellow citizens,” she said.


Wallace said everyone in attendance Friday night was deserving of the award.


“The thing that makes Dawson County so great is there are so many people that are concerned about helping other people. Just about everybody in this room does care about and wants to help the less fortunate,” Wallace said.


The chamber also presented awards for ambassador, business leader, corporate citizen and entrepreneur of the year during the ceremony.


Lori Lewis, co-owner of Stelor Handyman Service and executive officer for the Dawson/Lumpkin Homebuilders Association, was selected among the chamber’s top five as ambassador of the year.


Vernon Smith, owner of the Lakeview Center where the event was held, was named business leader of the year.


Small business owner Denny Putlak of Denny Insurance Group was awarded entrepreneur of the year, and Wal-Mart, which has donated more than $200,000 to local initiatives, was given the chamber’s corporate citizen award.


As outgoing chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, Jay Walker also presented Kristie Myers with the chairman’s award for her efforts in promoting and dedication to the chamber.


“This award means different things to different people. To me it’s someone that steps up to the plate and practices what they preach,” Walker said.


Myers served as chairman of the board in 2008 and continues to play an integral role in the chamber today, using “proper ethics and proper business ethics in the decisions she makes,” Walker said.


The gala is an annual event put on by the local chamber of commerce. The event serves not only as a time to recognize outstanding individuals and businesses, but also as the chamber’s largest fundraising event of the year.