All-America City celebrates one-year anniversary

Jun. 25, 2014 @ 01:07 PM

One year after 31 individuals traveled from Thomasville to Denver, Colo. the week their hometown became an All-America city, those same individuals returned Friday to the hub of excitement – otherwise known as the Thomasville Area Chamber of Commerce – where their mission began.

The familiar faces of Chamber President Doug Croft, City Councilman Joe Leonard, NewBridge bank executive Tony Hyde and many others beamed with pride as they gathered for an anniversary cookout in the parking lot of the 941 Randolph St. location. The asphalt, tents and sign outside the Chamber office were embroidered with the All-America insignia, a welcome sight for visitors on hand to celebrate.

“Positive publicity continues well after the announcement,” Croft said of the three-day conference last June from which his group returned with the All-America City Award. “We have the opportunity to show that pride through buttons, street banners, T-shirts, posters, signage, etc.”

Croft credited the collaborative effort from many who assisted with the presentation for Thomasville's recognition, given by the National Civic League. The Children at Play initiative, Project Divine Interruption and the Memorial Day celebration were represented as the three projects which helped Thomasville meet the criteria to be named 2013 All-America City.

He explained a few of the ways the award has helped put Thomasville “back on the map,” including a rebranding project that he says will help serve notice that the community is no longer simply the furniture capital of the Piedmont. According to Croft, the first six months after the All-America City announcement, four manufacturers moved into, or expanded within, the city.

Although the uptick in business may not directly result from the distinction, he believes the efforts of the 31 people who came together that fateful week in June 2013 play no small part in building the community which will now house renewed commitment from employers.

As a fun way to honor their efforts and benefit local charities, Croft concluded the cookout with a splash.

“Some of you might have heard of the Cold Water Challenge that is sweeping the area,” he announced to the crowd before succombing to a cooler full of ice water, followed in short order by a water gun fight with children in attendance. “That is another reason we gathered here today, to help local charities. At the request of my staff, I decided this would be a good way to benefit three charities that do a great work in our community. On behalf of the United Way, Tom A. Finch YMCA and the Thomasville Chamber Foundation, I accept the challenge.”

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 847-9911, or at