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Chamber hands out awards

The Paris Area Chamber of Commerce presented a number of awards before a crowd estimated at 200 at last Saturday’s Annual Awards Banquet at The Lodge at Mount Magazine State Park.

Here’s a rundown of the awards presented:

Community Volunteer of the Year: The award went to Friends of CASA, a support group for Court Appointed Special Advocates of the Tri-Peaks. Representing the group were its co-chairs Barbi Yarnell and Tracy Richey. Court Appointed Special Advocates serve children who find themselves dealing with the court system. Friends of CASA provides fundraising support for the organization and holds special events for children served by CASA.

Chamber Member of the Year: The award went to Dr. Lee Lane, an outgoing member of the organization’s Board of Directors and a member of the Paris Area Economic Development Council. Lane also chairs the Single Parent Scholarship Committee. In presenting the award, PACC Board President Jason Shook said Lane has “shown outstanding and exceptional service and support” to the chamber in the past year.

Vic Bockstadter Memorial Humanitarian Award: This is a new award and it went to Mercy Hospital Paris Auxiliary, a fund raising and support group for Mercy Hospital. Accepting the award were auxiliary members Lynda Brooks, Barbara Appleton, Joye Cooper and Jewel White. The organization raises between $7,000 and $15,000 annually for the hospital with special events like the annual Thanksgiving dinner and a golf tournament.

Educator of the Year: The award was presented to Jeannette Redford. Redford has been a teacher for almost 20 years, teaching pre-schoolers and grade schoolers. She also tutors reading skills and all grade levels. “She has a great respect for children, their learning environment and their right to learn,” said presenter Mary Stengel, “and it shows in her results.”

Student of the Year: The award was presented to Ja Kyra Austin, a senior at Paris High School. She is the daughter of Vincent and Aleethea Austin of Paris. Ja Kyra will graduate with Highest Honors, is a member of the Key Club, the National Honor Society, a mentor, a member of the school’s FBLA. She is a cheerleader, All-District and All-State in volleyball, All-District in track, was nominated for Annual Queen as a sophomore, was a Homecoming Maid as a junior and a member of Winter Court as a senior. She is a volunteer Junior Olympics volleyball coach and helped establish the Kid’s Cafe, a program that teaches poetry to Boys and Girls Club of Paris members. “She’s done more for the PHS culture in three years than I have,” presenter Britt Bauer, principal of the school, said.

Small Business of the Year: The award went to Ed Williams Body Shop of Paris. Representing the company was business owner Ed Williams. Williams is a three-time winner of the Chamber Member of the Year Award. His company is active in community service and Williams previously put up Christmas decorations on Courthouse Square and the Logan County Courthouse.

Large Business of the Year: The award went to Mercy Hospital of Paris, which was represented by Administrator Sharon Sorey. The hospital has been serving the medical needs of north Logan County since 1979. The hospital has 52 employees.

Law Enforcement Officer of the Year: The award went to Logan County Deputy Sheriff Ray Gack. Gack is a former Logan County Sheriff. Presenter Sheriff Steve Smith praised Gack for his work with the department, adding “he’s a friend and a great employee.”

President’s Award for Service: The award went to former PACC Executive Director Linda Hixson, who retired from the post late last year. Hixson had been Executive Director for seven years.

Outgoing board members Dr. Ahn Chung and Dr. Lee Lane were also recognized for their service.

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