Chamber Shines at Annual Banquet

May 1, 2019
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Members of the community joined the Chamber of Commerce in celebrating 56 years of service to Smithville and DeKalb County during the annual banquet held Tuesday night at the county complex.

A recap of community achievements and presentation of Chamber Milestone awards and Leadership DeKalb Alumni Association honors were among the highlights of the program.

Lisa Cripps, Coordinator of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition, received the Community Leader of the Year Award and the Legacy Award went to WJLE’s Dwayne Page. The awards were presented by Leadership DeKalb representatives Jen Sherwood and Beth and Darrell Gill.

The Community Leader of the Year is awarded to the individual who most emulates the definition of community trustee and servant-leader in his or her recent service to DeKalb County. Nominees are considered who have made a significant and positive impact on our county specifically in 2018 and in a capacity beyond their professional role.

The 2018 Community Leader of the Year is Lisa Cripps.

She is a 1976 graduate of DCHS and graduated from MTSU in 1980 and began teaching at DeKalb West School that same year. Lisa earned her Masters degree in Education in 1994 and became assistant principal at Smithville Elementary School in 1995. She moved to DeKalb Middle School in 2000 to teach 8th grade science and became Supervisor of Instruction in 2011. She was named Regional Teacher of the Year in 2008. Lisa retired from the school system in 2017 after 33 years of service and is now the coordinator of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition.

“Since taking over the DeKalb Prevention Coalition two years ago she has brought this organizations engagement in the community to new heights. She works tirelessly in bringing awareness, education, and solutions to our communities on every drug related issue for both addiction and prevention. In her own words Lisa said It is our responsibility to find a vital part of the community to touch lives. We are supposed to be used by God,” said Darrell Gill in presenting this award.

The Legacy Leader Award is awarded to someone who most emulates the definition of community trustee and servant-leader in his or her continued service to DeKalb County. The winner has made a significant and positive impact on our county over a considerable period of time and in multiple and lasting ways. This year’s award was presented to Dwayne Page.

“Dwayne started at WJLE in 1979 as a staff announcer after graduating high school. He attended broadcasting school in Nashville but attributes much of his learning to his mentor former WJLE manager Ralph Vaughn, who hired him. Dwayne quickly picked up increasing responsibilities such as covering local news and contributing to the business aspects of the radio station. He became station and sales manager in 1992. Dwayne says he prefers to turn the spotlight on others instead of himself. He says he likes to report the news, not make the news. But tonight we have the honor of doing just that. We recognize Dwayne Page for inspiring us to be a community of more good news than bad. Tonight, we honor your amazing lifelong example of dedication to your profession and your community. Tonight we get to say thank you for holding the fabric of our community together with your commitment of who we are as a community. You are a community treasure. Thank you for your many contributions to DeKalb County,” said Jen Sherwood in presenting the award.

Ralph Vaughn also presented to WJLE a Chamber Milestone Award for 55 years of service to the community and to Page for his 40 years at the radio station.

Other Chamber Milestone Awards were presented to the following:

*Phillip Cantrell of Cantrell’s the home of Fluty and Fluty’s Shoes for 55 years in business

*Ascension Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital-50 years

*Appalachian Center for Crafts-40 years

*DRiV (AKA Federal-Mogul Motorparts)-40 years

*Tom Janney of Janney & Associates, CPA’s-30 years

*Robin and Kristie Driver of Center Hill Realty-30 years

*DeKalb County Volunteer Fair Board-25 years

*Evins Mill-25 years

*DeKalb Funeral Chapel-20 years

*JBeez Watercraft-20 years

*Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour-20 years

Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams recapped highlights from the past year including completion of façade improvements made to several downtown building store fronts thanks to a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant. She presented a brief power point which showed before and after photos of the buildings. Williams also spoke of the Chamber ‘s success in securing a Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Grant for a Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree billboard on I-40. She also touted local growth in tourism. Last year the state announced that DeKalb County’s tourism dollars increased by 6.7% from the previous year to $48.02 million, the third highest tourism dollars in the 14-county Upper Cumberland region.

The 2019 Chamber Executive Officers are as follows: Beth Adcock, Smithville Police Department, Chamber President. Lisa Cripps, DeKalb Prevention Coalition, Vice-President. Jane Brown, Middle TN Natural Gas, Secretary. Kathy Hendrixson, Director of the DeKalb County Library Systems, Treasurer. Rita Bell, Haven of Hope, Past President.

New Board Members include Billie Davis, JBeez Watercraft/Canoe the Caney, Jen Sherwood, Federal Mogul; Norene Puckett, DeKalb Recovery Court; Leigh Fuson, DeKalb Extension/4-H; Josh Issac, DeKalb County Complex; and Kathy Hendrixson, DeKalb Library Systems.

Other Chamber Board Members include Dana Scott, Tenneco; Mark Taylor, Edgar Evins State Park; Lora Webb, The Webb House; Debra Ruzinsky, Appalachian Center for Craft; Tom Sturdivant, Pates Ford Marina/Fish Lipz Grill & Sligo Marina/Restaurant; and Andy Wachtel. Honorary Board Members are DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling, Smithville Mayor Josh Miller, Alexandria Mayor Bennett Armstrong, Dowelltown Mayor Pam Redmon, and Liberty Mayor Dwight Mathis.

The 2018 Officers were Rita Bell, President; Beth Adcock, Vice-President; Jane Brown, Secretary; Sherry Harris, Treasurer; and Isaac Gray, Past President. Retiring Board Members include Isaac Gray, Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church; Steve Johnson, DTC Communications; Connie Tjarks, DeKalb Farmers Market, and Sherry Harris, D&S Special-tees.

The Chamber banquet opened with welcoming remarks by Chamber President Beth Adcock and County Mayor Tim Stribling, a presentation of the flags and the pledge of allegiance by Boy Scout Troop #347, and the National Anthem by Josh Isaac. Keyboardist Susan Hinton performed dinner music.