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Brig. Gen.highlights Chamber awards
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It's that time of year again. The Christmas tree has been put away, the New Year's resolutions made and the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce's Annual Meeting is upon us.

The event will take place next Tuesday, Jan. 20 at the Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center. Social hour begins at 6:30 p.m. with dinner, catered by Tara Foods, to follow at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $55 and include dinner and two drink tickets. A chamber sponsor table of 8 with premium seating is $1,000.

Tuesday night's keynote speaker is Brigadier General C. Stewart Rodeheaver who will speak on the topic of "Leadership Through Volunteerism."

Lisa Oglesby, director of programs for the chamber, said Rodeheaver came very highly recommended as a speaker.

"We're excited about Stewart Rodeheaver. I understand he's just phenomenal," Oglesby said.
Also included in the evening's events will be the awarding of the chamber's three annual awards: the Dick James Small Business of the Year Award, The Spirit of Excellence Award and the R.O. Arnold Award.

Named after "Mr. Bob" Arnold, who with his wife, Florence, established The Arnold Fund, the R.O. Arnold Award is awarded to an individual or couple that has demonstrated significant service to the Newton County community and has lived in the county for at least five years.

Recipients of the award are nominated by past recipients of the award and by past chairs of the chamber. The nominees are then voted on by the past recipients and chamber chairs. In 2008, the R.O. Arnold Award went to Sam B. Hay.

The Dick James Small Business of the Year Award goes to a business in the county with 100 employees or less that has been in business for at least two years. Nominees for the award are judged on their staying power, number of new employees, increase in sales, financial standing, involvement in the community, innovation and response to adversity.

The Spirit of Excellence Award recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in volunteering for the chamber. Recipients of the award are selected by chamber staff who take into account the number of chamber functions attended, hours spent volunteering with the chamber, the number of sponsors brought in and monetary donations.

Outgoing 2008 Chamber of Commerce Chair Troy Brooks, CFO of Newton Medical Center, will also be recognized for his year of service at the meeting, as will two new honorary members of the chamber.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the chamber at (770) 786-7510 or by visiting their web site at