The stars shone brightly Friday night as the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce celebrated a successful year and honored many for their community contributions.
With arriving guests greeted by paparazzi lining a red carpet, the "Stars of the Chamber"-themed gala was a night to celebrate the local business community's accomplishments in 2013.
"We're very proud of all that's been accomplished as we have worked the foundations of cultivating a successful economic environment and a desirable quality of life for our businesses and community," said Christie Haynes, chamber president.
As part of the festivities, several individuals who went above and beyond during a year of transition were recognized.
Roger Slaton, who owns a local State Farm agency, received the Don Gordon Business Leader of the Year award.
A member of the chamber for more than 25 years, Slaton also served as chairman of the organization on two separate occasions.
"In addition to business leadership, Roger is committed to our community in every aspect of his life," Haynes said.
The recognition left Slaton speechless.
"There's no better place than Dawsonville. It's been my honor to have my place of work, to live, to raise my family," he said. "All I can say is thank you."
Carol Tyger was presented with the chamber's Jim Wallace Volunteer of the Year award for her community involvement.
"In addition to the chamber there's a list ... of other organizations she gives just as much time to," Haynes said. "We are particularly grateful for the many hours she dedicated to the chamber the past year. We really couldn't have done it without her."
A dedicated volunteer, Tyger also received the honor in 2009.
"This was a total surprise. I work with a lot of you out there and I appreciate you," she said. "While this is not my home, you can tell this is not a Georgia accent, I love this community and I love being involved in it."
The chamber also honored its top volunteer and ambassador.
Stephanie Griffin, editor of the Dawson Community News, was selected Ambassador of the Year.
The group's co-chair in 2013, Griffin said she was thrilled to receive the award and honored to be a part of the volunteer organization that serves as a liaison between the chamber and the business community.
"I would encourage anyone who wants to be more involved in the chamber and meet wonderful people to consider being an ambassador," she said.
Peter Hill, the outgoing chairman of the chamber's board of directors, presented Doris Cook with the chairman's award for her "exemplary" work with the chamber, education system and business community.
"I started thinking about this about six months ago ... but I was looking for someone who truly was a star," Hill said. "She always puts others first, something we can all aspire to do."
With tears in her eyes, Cook praised the chamber, its board and the friends she's met.
"The chamber has probably been one of the best things that's ever happened to me. There's so many people in this room that helped me get here today," she said.
The gala was the last official order of business for Hill, who passed the chairman's gavel to Northside Hospital's Gloria Wyatt for 2014.
"Pete, I want to thank you for the remarkable job that you did as the 2013 chair. I realize I have some big shoes to fill," she said. "I look forward to serving as the 2014 chair ... as we try to explore new and innovative programs.
"We have so much to offer at our chamber and we will strive to make Dawsonville and Dawson County the preferred location for businesses and families."
In its 23rd year, the gala is one of the chamber's most anticipated annual events and serves as a fundraiser for the organization.