The Conyers Rockdale Chamber of Commerce recognized outstanding members of the community and officially passed the gavel from 2011 Chairman Mo Talley to 2012 Chairman Lorraine Harrison during the annual meeting Tuesday at the Georgia International Horse Park.
Harrison emphasized the importance of shopping locally in her remarks.
“These two words can make an incredible difference in our economy,” she said. “If you spend a dollar with a locally owned business, 68 cents of that dollar is plowed back into our community.”
She briefly described a new “Shop Local” program the Chamber would roll out in 2012. “Our goal is the change local consumer attitudes about how shopping local can stimulate our economy.”
“We can all improve our local economy by simple everyday choices like buying your gas here, buying your groceries here, eating out at restaurants here, buying your gifts and presents here, going to a local doctor or dentist. These are small choices that will improve our economy and keep our local businesses thriving.”
Ethel Boyle was named the recipient of the A.R. Barksdale Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to serving on the Rockdale County Board of Education, elections board, Rockdale Medical Center Board of Directors, she was most recently chairman of the board of the Hospital Authority of Rockdale County and helped to oversee the transition and sale of the hospital to LifePoint Inc.
Jean Yontz was named the recipient of the Community Spirit Award. Yontz, currently a member of the Rockdale County Board of Education, also served as the executive director of the Rockdale Medical Center, is a charter board member of the Kimberley Chance Atkins Foundation.
Ron Simpson was named the recipient of the United Way "Stepping up to the Plate" Award. Simpson is currently the chairman of the board for Phoenix Pass transitional housing for homeless women and children.
Rockdale Medical Center was named the Education Partner of the Year. RMC recently began hosting eight apprenticeships with Rockdale Career Academy's healthcare program and helped pursue a United Way grant with the school system. RMC CEO Deborah Armstrong and HR Director Marianne Freeman accepted the award at the ceremony.
Brandi Wells was named the James P. Culpepper Volunteer of the Year. Wells is a Chamber Ambassador, active in the Education Committee, and is co-chairing the 2012 Golf Tournament Committee.
The Walk of Heroes Veterans War Memorial, in Black Shoals Park, was named the recipient of the Anne Waldrop Community Appearance Award. Tommy Clack, Norm Wheeler and Bud Soesbee accepted the award at the ceremony.
Special community awards were also given to Michael Hutcheson, director of the Rockdale Coalition for Children and Families, and Ethel Boyle, former chairman of the Hospital Authority of Rockdale County board.