By Sarrah Peters/News Editor
The Chamber of Gadsden/Etowah County held its 2019 Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon on Friday, January 25 at 210 at the Tracks.
Heather Brothers New welcomed attendees and acknowledged sponsors, staff and volunteers referred to as Chamber ambassadors.
Phillip Fikes was awarded the 2018 Ambassador of the Year award.
New said that Fikes has been “an invaluable asset to the Chamber over the last year.”
Alabama Senate Majority Leader Senator Greg Reed gave the keynote address, filling in for the scheduled speaker, U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt, who was unable to make the event. Reed highlighted the major legislative topics that are being discussed in the state senate, including infrastructure, economic growth, education, additional state troopers, prisons and high-speed internet. He also said that several legislators have plans to introduce legislature on a state lottery.
After the keynote speech, New announced the winners of local Chamber awards. Outgoing Chairwoman Tena King presented winners with the awards.
Phillip Williams was the recipient of the Chairman’s Award. Williams has invested in the local community, attributing to economic growth and the addition of new jobs in the area.
Dre Kirkpatrick was the recipient of the Impact Award, a new award this year. It is presented to an individual who has made a significant impact on the community in the last year. Kirkpatrick has founded a foundation that assists local children with the purchase of back-to school supplies.
Steve Reagan was the recipient of the Legacy Award. Given to honor those who has left a “lasting legacy” in the community, this award is not given every year. According to New, it is awarded only when a nomination has been made and found to be “exceptionally deserving.” Reagan is being honored for his time spent as a mentor and band director, as well as his work with the MidSouth Band Festival, which was started 54 years ago by Reagan’s father and draws 10,000 visitors to Etowah County each year to participate or spectate.
Incoming Chamber Chairman Jeff Allen presented King, the outgoing chairwoman, with an award to commemorate her service.