UPDATE: Here’s when you can expect to get your bloomin’ onion fix at Dawson County’s first Outback Steakhouse
The Australian-themed restaurant will soon open its first location in Dawson County.
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Tyger named volunteer of the year
Businesses celebrate during ball
2 Chamber Gala pic 2
Jane Berg, left, draws the winning card out of Kara Hewatt's hand for the 52 card draw at the chamber gala. - photo by Photo/Elizabeth Hamilton

After spending the day setting up tables and decorating the banquet hall, Carol Tyger laughed in delight as she was named Volunteer of the Year at the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Cowboy Ball.


“Here I am doing anything and everything I can to give back to the community,” said Tyger, who was wearing cowboy boots and hat. “I enjoy what I’m doing.”


Tyger, a retired business owner who has lived in Dawson County for nine years, was one of several people honored at the annual banquet Friday night.


The event also pays tribute to the incoming and outgoing leadership of the chamber’s board.


Linda Williams, chamber president, said the volunteer award honors the memory of Jim Wallace, a man “who loved this community and served it with all his heart.”


“Without volunteers this chamber would not go anywhere,” Williams said.


Tyger, who serves as co-chairwoman of the chamber’s 2009 Ambassador Program, also volunteers at the Adult Learning Center and RIC Rack.


She is the treasurer of the Dawson County Woman’s Club, president of Dawson County READ Inc. and belongs to the League of Women Voters and local Rotary Club. In addition, she’s on the board for the Bowen Center for the Arts.


Kristie Myers, the chamber’s 2008 chairwoman, described relationships as the “backbone of small business.”


“I believe in the chamber,” she said. “I believe in everything that it has done for me this year. I appreciate the opportunity I have had this year to meet you, to know you and to be your chairman.”


Myers named longtime partner and local attorney Joey Homans as the recipient of the Chairman’s Award. Before turning the microphone over to incoming chair Jay Walker, Myers wished the group well.


“It’s going to be a great year, and I’m looking forward to it,” she said.


Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle swore in Walker and treasurer Kathy Fuller, who vowed to look after the chamber’s best interests in 2009.


Walker was also named the Don Gordon Business Leader of the Year for the work he and his employees at the Dawsonville Kroger did during the fall gas crunch.


Walker often could be found directing traffic through the grocery store parking lot as motorists searched for gas.


“We got several nominations and they all said the same thing about the recipient,” said Myers, who presented the award. “Leadership is the guy that gets out there on the front lines.”


Walker said the award represents the “best group of people I’ve ever worked with.”


Also honored during the banquet were Karen Reuda, owner of Lava Hair Salon, as Entrepreneur of the Year and Denny Putlak, as Ambassador of the Year.


“I do have a pay it forward attitude and I feel like that is what life is all about,” Reuda said, who added she never understood what it was like to be a part of a community until she opened a business in Dawson County.  


“I feel like I completely understand and wholeheartedly believe in this community, and they have supported our business, and we would not be where we are now unless we had you guys,” she said.


The gala raised between $7,000 and 10,000 for the chamber’s initiatives.

Chamber Vice President Marty Williams deemed the event a success.


“Attendance was wonderful, and everyone was having a good time,” he said.


E-mail Michele Hester at