Thursday night a red carpet greeted members and friends of the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce as they entered Richmond Community College’s Cole Auditorium to attend the 30th annual Meeting and Recognition Night.
The 2012 Citizen of the Year award went to Dr. Masoud Ahdieh, who according to the Chamber of Commerce was the first pediatrician to open a practice in Richmond County, which has been a successful business since 1980.
“He is the right man for this award,” said newly appointed 2013 Chamber Chair John Jackson.
“My success in Richmond County has been because of your support,” Ahdieh said to his audience as he accepted his award. “I feel that all of us together accomplished something good for Richmond County.”
“Tonight Dr. Ahdieh will join a unique fraternity in our community,” said Chamber President Emily Tucker, moments before introducing outgoing 2012 Chamber Chair Terry Green.
Green gave the annual report, noting that “our community has gone through tough economic changes.” He said that the chamber was “about each member helping each member become successful” and said that across the county, Chamber of Commerce has an 84 percent retention rate, despite economic struggles. In 2012, there were 11 ribbon cuttings and one grand opening, Green said. Last year the Chamber added a corn hole tournament as a new event that allowed them to network while creating revenue.
“It attracted a lot of people from outside of Richmond County and was really a lot of fun,” said Green about the new tournament they plan to hold each year at the racetrack.
“I feel a good sense of unity in the community,” said Green, who encouraged members of the Chamber to “take some time to volunteer and be a participating member,” because, he said, if you don’t you won’t experience all the benefits of Chamber membership.
After being introduced as the 2013 Chamber Chairman, Jackson said, “I’m truly honored to be here. They are committed to being the best Chamber they could be. I’m committed to fulfilling the mission we’ve set for ourselves.”
Jackson said the Chamber conducted a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. He said the Chamber’s strengths include the staff, their events, and their diverse members. Their weaknesses lie in their limited resources and their inexperienced board. Their opportunities arise from a small-town atmosphere and many businesses which have yet to join the Chamber. Their threats come from the county’s socioeconomic status.
The 2012 Ambassador of the Year award went to Martha Gardner of BB&T. The Ambassadors of the Chamber volunteer their time to visit and solicit new members and help with charity events.
The 2012 Charles White Service Award was presented to the Dr. Diane Honeycutt family, in honor of the late Dr. Diane Honeycutt.
The Charles White Service Award, named for the late Charles White, was established to honor a Richmond County resident considered to be a civic-minded “unsung hero,” a citizen that contributes to the community by giving their time and energy freely and unselfishly.
After the awards ceremony, guests moved to the banquet hall where they enjoyed food, entertainment and celebration.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.