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The Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual meeting and banquet at Lu Mil Vineyard on Thursday, March 10. The evening was filled with a sense of possibility and appreciation for Mother Nature’s Playground. The potential and possibilities for Bladen County’s growth were reflected in awards given to local people who are making an impact in Bladen County.

“Tell people why Bladen County is a great place,” according to Dane Rideout, “to live, work, and play.” If tourists want to experience a small town that genuinely cares about its people, Bladen County is an ideal choice.

At White Lake, several new developments have taken place. “Trying to extend the season at White Lake helps White Lake and helps the town of Elizabethtown, Bladen County,” noted Mayor Goldston Womble. In addition to the developments, the water and waste systems will be upgraded and partnering with Elizabethtown on a regional waste water system, remarked Womble. As a result, Elizabethtown and White Lake will be more enticing as a result of some of the renovations.

The keynote speaker was Amy Allison. Allison’s notes were read by Terry Dennison, Executive Director, since Allison was unable to attend. It is a historical time for funding at the federal and state levels to increase awareness of outdoor recreational opportunities to help finish trails and make connections, build opportunities for our children and community. “Outdoor recreational is part of our economy,” stated Allison, “therefore building opportunities for our children.” The message emphasized the importance of making Bladen County a better place through outdoor recreational.

Kelly Barefoot presented Mildred Jackson, of Faith Partner Christian Supply, with the Outstanding Chamber Member of the Year award.

Dean Hilton, Hilton Realty, Grand Regal Resort, and other businesses received the Outstanding Small Businessperson Award. Jake Womble presented the award.

The Caring Person Award was given to Ann Warner, Bladen We Care. Jennifer Leggett, Campbell Oil/Minuteman Mart, presented the award.

Sylvia Campbell was honored with the Honorary Lifetime Membership Award. Jennifer Leggett and Terri Dennison presented the award.

Brenda Clark, of the Town of White Lake, was awarded the Legacy Award. Terri Dennison presented the award.

Current President Anne Beyer passed the gavel on to Jonathan Langston, the 2022 Chamber President.