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Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Announces 2020 Award Winners

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Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present their Annual Awards to worthy individuals and businesses who have impacted our area in 2020. The award recipients were chosen after being nominated by Chamber members. These awards are traditionally presented at the Chamber’s Annual Banquet.

Due to changes caused by the COVID pandemic, the Annual Meeting will be held virtually through ZOOM on Thursday, February 25 at 12 noon. Information on participating in the Annual Meeting can be found on the Chamber’s website under Events.

OUTSTANDING CHAMBER MEMBER OF THE YEAR:

The Outstanding Chamber Member of the Year is given to a Member organization or business that has shown exceptional service and dedication throughout the prior year. The Award recipient may be celebrating a milestone, have accomplished remarkable achievements, and overcome tremendous obstacles. The Award recipient embodies the values of the Chamber and is involved in the overall success of the Chamber and our Community.

 AWARD RECIPIENT:       BAREFOOT BREW

In the picture: ( l to r): Chamber President 2021 Anne Beyer, Kayleigh Raynor, Jenna Stephenson, 2020 Chamber President Jennifer Leggett, owner Kelly Barefoot, owner Bo Barefoot,  Hailey Guyton, and Cheylee Mathis

Kelly and Bo Barefoot took a risk and opened Barefoot Brew during a pandemic with the idea of providing a gathering place where people could share quality coffee, other beverages, and ideas. They actively promote their neighboring businesses and provide an outlet for local bakers, photographers, and other local makers. Their nomination focused on the quality of the customer service of their staff. “I see the employees who work there showing a kindness and attitude toward customers, no matter the color of their skin. They can and will make a difference in our communities. If we would all take a lesson from them, we could and will see a change in our land,” the nomination stated. The Chamber honors Barefoot Brew for having a progressive vision and determination to help improve not only the downtown Elizabethtown area but all of Bladen County while providing a quality work/ learning environment for our young people.

OUTSTANDING SMALL BUSINESSPERSON AWARD 

The Outstanding Small Business Award is given to an individual(s) who represents a Chamber Member. The individual receiving this award is invested in the success of the Chamber, local businesses, and the community. 

AWARD RECIPIENT:        ALEX MUNROE, CAPE FEAR VINEYARD AND WINERY/ CAPE FEAR DISTILLERY

In the picture (l. to r) 2021 Chamber President Anne Beyer, Alex Munroe, and 2020 Chamber President Jennifer Leggett

Alex Munroe received multiple nominations for this award. As the owner of two businesses and attractions in Bladen County with more on the way, the Chamber recognizes Mr. Monroe for his vision.  One of the nominators wrote, “Every decision Alex makes regarding the growth of Cape Fear Vineyard and Winery…he makes it with the community in mind. He is always thinking of ways to improve Bladen County by providing a true gem of a place that you would never expect in a small rural community! His vision for the Winery is constantly changing as he recognizes the needs of the community. He started with a Winery but in 5 years has created a true Resort that encompasses a restaurant, luxury lodging, event space, a distillery and soon to be gift shop and spa. Alex pays attention to details and every detail is designed to be inviting and welcoming to our community.”

Mr. Munroe was also recognized this year for his quick thinking by pivoting his product into hand sanitizer. Another nomination stated, “Loss of revenue, our staff’s financial struggles, loss of comradery with coworkers and our guests….it was all a tough time that we shared with the rest of the world. Alex saw an opportunity to do something that would offer employment for some of his staff as well as give to the community a much-needed commodity – hand sanitizer! For several months, Cape Fear Distillery halted production of spirits and focused solely on producing and distributing Ethanol based hand sanitizer to our local community as well as nationally to areas that could not procure it. Alcohol sales were soaring during this time, but Alex felt that while sanitizer production would not be as profitable….it was the right thing to do for our community.”

CARING PERSON AWARD

The Caring Person Award is given to an individual (who may or may not be a Chamber Member) for meritorious service to the community.  This award is presented to the individual who understands and demonstrates how the public, business community, and government work together to provide service to the community.  The individual receiving this award has played an important and sustained role in numerous community activities, often behind the scenes.   He/she may have also received prestigious awards for the various activities in which he/she has been involved. This individual has given not only his/her time to these activities, but also donated needed resources. 

 AWARD RECIPIENT:        DR. TERESA DUNCAN, MSN, RN-C, C-NE, CPHQ, BLADEN CO. HEALTH DIRECTOR

Pictured L. to R: Bladen County Manager Greg Martin, Dr. Teresa (Terri) Duncan, 2020 Chamber President Jennifer Leggett, and 2021 Chamber Anne Beyer.

This past year has been difficult for anyone in the health care profession, especially when the health of a whole county is under your jurisdiction. Dr. Duncan had to make some unpopular and tough decisions throughout 2020. She routinely worked with local and state advisors to keep communication about COVID fresh and updated to government officials, local businesses, the schools, and media. Dr. Duncan has advised the Chamber on best practices and she even partnered with the Chamber and the Small Business Center to provide a webinar on how to keep your business, employees, and customers safe. The nominator wrote, “Dr. Duncan has worked many long hours and served our county well while navigating through the COVID-19 Pandemic with the best of intentions to keep our communities safe.”  In a recent conversation with Chamber staff, she mentioned that a personal day-off has not been possible and that she is looking forward to the days of parades and festival again.

HONORARY LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP AWARD

The Honorary Lifetime Membership award was established to recognize and to give the highest regards to an individual who has served the Chamber in an outstanding and on-going manner.  The award is presented to an individual who has been a model Chamber member, a caring businessperson, an active community participant, and an all-around good citizen.  The award recipient will have demonstrated the Golden Rule in his/her endeavors 

AWARD RECIPIENT:        LEE GREENE, BLADEN BUILDERS SUPPLY

Previously taken photo. Left to Right: Dr. Samuel Cross and Lee Greene

Bladen Builders is the epitome of a small town, one-stop service center for most all residential, home and agriculture needs in Bladen County. Lee Greene has been the President of the company for over 40 years. He has been devoted to the Chamber, serving in several roles including Chamber President. His nomination stated, “Lee has supported the Chamber many times behind the scenes and has helped build a business in our community that stands the test of time.”

 LEGACY AWARD

This new award recognizes a person who through the course of their employment and their day-to-day job, has supported the efforts and initiatives of the Chamber. They have taken an active leadership role and provided valuable counsel in important business development matters. They are honored for their level of collaboration. 

 AWARD RECIPIENT:        EDDIE MADDEN, TOWN OF ELIZABETHTOWN

Eddie Madden receives award from 3 Chamber Presidents: Ashley Dowless (2018-19), Jennifer Leggett (2019-2020) and Anne Beyer (2021)

For 13 years, Eddie Madden has guided the Town of Elizabethtown thru hurricane recovery, economic growth and park/ recreation development. He also assisted White Lake in the funding and creation of their multi-use access trail. He recently assisted Harmony Hall in a grant application. He was one of the ones whose vision of a stronger Chamber resulted in our current program. “Mr. Madden has been a vital partner in helping to further the growth of the White Lake- Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce,” Jennifer Leggett, Chamber President from 2019-2020 said. “It has been a pleasure working with him and we wish him well in his future endeavors.” Mr. Madden will leave the Town of Elizabethtown in March to become the County Manager for Columbus County.