On Saturday night, the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce hosted it’s 23rd Annual Gala at the North Georgia Premium Outlets, offering music, food, dancing and update on the current economic state of Dawson County as the community ventures forth into 2020.
During her words to the crowd, Chamber President Christie Moore commented that Dawson County is truly a community where you can, "have your cake and eat it too."
"What I meant by that is we live in a place that truly values the small-town community, but has the amenities and business opportunities of a town six times our size or larger," Moore said.
Moore also spoke about several major chamber programs and initiatives that would be key for the county in 2020, including the Graduate Pathways For Success program (GPS), a free partnership with the Dawson County School System which prepares students who aren't interested in college or military service, with skills they need to enter the work force and the first ever Dawson County Economic Development Plan, which is currently under development.
"Maybe you love that this is the place where your business thrives or that the staff at Chick-fil-A know you by name, maybe you love that your house is moments away from great hiking trails and breathtaking river scenery or that you love volunteering at a non-profit with your best friend from church," she said. "At the chamber we are dedicated to protecting and promoting and improving the things that we love, that all of us, the collective we, love."
Following Moore’s words to the crowd, the 2020 Chamber Board officers were sworn in by local attorney Joey Homans. Adam Smith of Amicalola Propane was sworn in as Board Chair, Gwen Kellar of Chick-Fil-A was sworn in a Vice Chair and Connie Smith or Associated Credit Union was sworn in as Secretary/Treasurer.
The night was capped off with an award ceremony for chamber members and community leaders who had distinguished themselves in the realms of business, public service and volunteerism.
The awards and honorees for 2020 include;
• Chairman's Award - Sharon Hall, AFLAC Insurance
• Spirit of Leadership Award - Brian Haas, pastor of Mountain Lake Church Dawson
• Outstanding Tourism Partner Award - Gordon Pirkle, Georgia Racing Hall of Fame
• Outstanding New Member Award - Doug Cole, Because Coffee
• Linda Williams Ambassador of the Year - Cathy Holcombe of Juice Plus
• Jim Wallace Volunteer of the Year - Don Brown, Veterans Affairs of Dawson County President
• Don Gordon Business Leader of the Year - Brent and Rhonda Tower, Tower Auto Repair