Chamber puts out call for Citizen of the Year nominations

Jessica Johnson Staff Reporter

January 14, 2014

The Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for Citizen of the Year — an award that will be presented at the chamber's 53rd annual meeting on Jan. 30 at Cross Creek Country Club. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 20.

Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce President Betty Ann Collins said the Citizen of the Year Award is a great honor, and is meant for those in the community who are “visionaries, leaders, and people truly involved in the community — those who really make a difference,” people who make this community a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

Nominations received for the chamber's Citizen of the Year award are turned over to an outside committee, Collins said, who then rank the nominations based on the criteria previously established.

Executives or employees of non-profit organizations are not eligible, Collins added. In addition, elected officials, candidates for elected office, and individuals who have previously held elected office are not eligible.

Specific criteria for Citizen of the year nominees includes:

• Visionary — able to assess external and internal forces likely to significantly influence Surry County's future and identify actions needed to manage these forces to maximum benefit.

• Leadership — not only through his/her work, but also through the ability to motivate others to become involved to improve Surry County.

• Highly respected — one who is known for being fair, ethical and honest in dealings with others.

• A strong supporter of education — one who is involved in improving educational opportunities for all and is actively involved in one or more education initiatives and a leader in at least one.

• An ambassador for business/industry and economic development — involved in efforts to increase commercial and/or economic development.

• A track record of ongoing involvement (either by membership or on a committee, etc.) in the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce.

• Active in community organizations (such as the United Fund of Surry County, civic clubs, PTA, etc.)

Nominations should be made by completing the official nomination form, available through the Chamber of Commerce or by calling 786-6116.

Collins said those who send in nominations also may attach a narrative, of no more than two pages, summarizing how the nominee meets the criteria and deserves the recognition.

All nominations must include the name and phone numbers of both the nominee and the person making the nomination.

Nominations should be mailed to: Citizen of the Year, Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 913, Mount Airy, NC 27030. They can be faxed to 786-1488, dropped off at the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce office, or emailed to

Although Collins said the criteria for Citizens of the Year has changed over the years, the list of past citizens of the year includes many of the “best and brightest” of Mount Airy: Joe Johnson, Sr., 1962; Archie Carter, 1963; John E. Woltz, 1964; Floyd Pike, 1965; C.B. Roberson, 1966; Dr. J. Dale Simmons, 1967; George A. and Marguerite Kallenbach, 1968; Rev. James Powell, 1969; Jim Grimes, 1970; Frank Smith, 1971; C.B. Roberson, 1972; James E. Johnson, 1973; Jerry Beverly, 1974; Stan Rogge, 1975; Bill Breedlove, 1976; Don Nance, 1977; Larry Wright, 1978; George Summerlin, 1979; Dr. Swanson Richards, 1980; Steve and Mary Petlitz, 1981; Floyd Rees, 1982; Bobby Galyean, 1983; Jack Zonneveld, 1984; Barbara Summerlin, 1985; Tanya Jones and Zack Blackmon, 1986; David Pruett, 1987; Thurman Watts, 1988; Ruth Minick, 1989; Richard Vaughn, 1990; Howard Woltz, Jr., 1991; Ann Vaughn, 1992; Jim Andrews, 1993; Teresa Lewis, 1994; John Springthorpe III, 1995; Gene Rees, 1996; Burke Robertson, 1997; Susan P. Ashby, 1998; Jack Greenwood, 1999; Dr. Wilford Lyerly, 2000; Gary York, 2001; Pat Gwyn Woltz, 2002; Ed Woltz, 2003; Craig and Michelle Hunter, 2004; Sandy Beam, 2005; Marion Venable, 2006; Virginia Rogers, 2007; Mike Bowman, 2008; Kate Appler, 2009; Charlie and Ed Shelton, 2010; Carol Burke, 2011; and Deidre Rogers, 2012.

The 53rd annual chamber meeting

The annual meeting will take place at Cross Creek Country Club from 6 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 30. The evening will begin with a time for socializing, followed by an invocation, and dinner at 7 p.m. Sponsors will then be introduced and the keynote speaker will address the audience, followed by the award for Citizen of the Year and the installation of new officers.

Collins said the keynote speakers will be CEO and Founder GC Huddle, of Shenandoah Furniture, along with his daughter, President of Shenandoah Furniture Candice Payne.

“We are very proud to have them as our guest speakers,” Collins said. “They came here to Mount Airy when they heard Henredon was closing, because they wanted our trained workforce.”

Shenandoah Furniture announced last year it would spend around $2 million to refurbish the former Henredon Furniture Industries building, located at 109 Mountainview Road in Mount Airy. The company manufactures upholstered furniture for private brands, such as Crate and Barrel, Room & Board, and Design Within Reach. The company already had hired 60 employees by November, up from an original commitment to hire between 30 and 50 when they acquired the facility.

Shenandoah Furniture was founded in 1981 and operates plants in Martinsville and Collinsville, Va. A plant in Valdese was opened in 2006.

Collins added that the chamber's annual meeting is a gathering of the entire membership base, and is the only documented meeting written into the bylaws. Officers and directors whose service term is complete will be “celebrated and recognized with plaques of service,” and incoming officers and directors will “take the charge.”

Collins said she emphasizes the importance of this ceremony for incoming officers and directors. “I always tell them not to take this lightly, this is very important and serious because they are charged with being responsible for overseeing the chamber in many aspects. The chamber operates on membership investments, so the board of directors and officers are charged with overseeing that — it is a huge responsibility.”

The honor of being appointed as a chamber officer or director is more than just a name on a plaque, Collins said. “It really is something to feel truly honored for. Peers have nominated and voted you to serve as their representative for one-year, two-year, or a three-year term. At the same time, we have new people coming on board, and we never want to take for granted those who have served their terms. We recognize their efforts and appreciate the service they do.”

This year, five are retiring, and the chairman of the board. The outgoing chairman will address the membership base, and the new chairman of the board also will speak.

Anyone who wishes to attend the 53rd annual meeting of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 30, at Cross Creek Country Club, should RSVP to Tanya Taylor at 786-6116, ext. 4. Tickets are $50 each.

Reach Jessica Johnson at or 719-1933.