Chamber Loving the Local Life

Debbie Snapp
ECB Publishing, Inc.

The Monticello-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce held its annual "Dinner, Silent Auction and Election of Officers" gala on Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Monticello Opera House.
The opera house's walls and tables were decorated with everything related to commerce and community in Monticello and Jefferson County. Decor, such as pictures of historic homes and buildings, scenes from annual events and "Loving the Local Life" t-shirts, served as centerpieces for the tables.
Loving the Local Life has been selected as the new logo and theme for the Monticello-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.
The evening began with a dinner catered by Mafia Pizza, including Chicken Lamone with vegetables and garlic angel hair pasta. Aucilla Christian Academy students and BETA Club members served the meal, desserts and drinks. The student volunteers were: Dawson Bishop, Kasey Chmura, Keira Evans, Esther Fulford, Isabella Gray, Logan Lamb, Janki Patel and Janvi Patel.
Entertainment for the event was DJ Tom, with Azalea City Entertainment. He played guitar and sang throughout the evening.
Officers for the new Chamber year were introduced and sworn in. They are: Danny Collins, president; Sean Vickers, vice-president; Lynette Sirmon, secretary; and Dori Collins, treasurer.
Directors whose term will end in the 2020 year, are: Sean Gray, Marianne Arbulu, Edward Carraway and Julius Hackett.
Directors whose term will end in the 2021 year, are: Bob Davison, Tami Lester, Roger Champion and Buck Bird.
Directors whose term will end in the 2022 year, are: Floyd Faglie, Ron Cichon, Geri Ann Driggers and Pat Inmon.
Chamber award winners were recognized and celebrated during the evening event, including Nan Baughman for her nine years as Watermelon Festival Chairperson. For the 2020 Watermelon Festival, Nancy Dodd and Katrina Richardson will serve as the event's chairpersons. Dodd also received the award for 'Volunteer of the Year.'
Awards and recipients included the 'Corporate Citizen Award' for the business that has contributed the most to the chamber and community went to Simpson Nurseries; the 'Fred and Velinda Williams Award' for outstanding service by an elected official went to Sheriff Mac McNeill; the 'Mack and Grace Morris Service Award' for outstanding contribution to the community went to Carrie Ann & Company; and the 'President's Award' for outstanding contribution to the Chamber went to Julius Hackett.
Local businesses, organizations and residents donated to the auction items, making for a lovely selection of gifts for event attendees to place bids on.
After a synopsis of her outgoing year as chamber president, Michele Arceneaux passed the gavel to incoming President Danny Collins. He spoke briefly about his plans for the 2019/2020 year.
A live auction, with Ron Cichon as auctioneer, became quite lively. Two homemade cakes, made by Lisa Roddy and donated by Capital City Bank, were won by Nan Baughman and Sean Gray, as well as a Ruger gun, donated by Firebase Robert, Inc., which was won by Chuck Lester.
For fun, the guests played a game of Heads & Tails. The winner of $100 cash and $100-off a renewed chamber membership was Leslie Wilkinson, owner of North Florida Abstract & Title.
For more information about this event and membership, contact Chamber Executive Director Katrina Richardson at (850) 997-5552.