Thomasville takes charge of future
Community leaders in Thomasville are among the most passionate I have ever witnessed in action.
They are not blind to the obstacles — abandoned buildings, too few jobs, a struggling economy, infrastructure that needs upgrades and more.
That passion blazed at Thomasville Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting held Jan. 10.
The desire to create a forward-thinking Thomasville became evident during the awards presentation.
"When a community is united, good things happen," said outgoing Chamber Chairman Dr. Karl Milliren as he announced that George Miller of BB&T had received the Chairman's Award. Miller is among those who helped to create new programs — Who's Who, Business Hero recognition, a young professionals group and the My Chamber app — that attracted 32 new members and produced $11,000 in revenue.
The Chamber tracked 42 new business investments. The Shop Local campaign made close to five million impressions.
"Thomasville is on the move and moving in the right direction," Milliren said of the Chair City's future.
That belief was personified in Chamber President Doug Croft's presentation of the Citizen of the Year Award to Ben Watford.
Watford's list of involvement through the years was extensive — from PACE to the Academy of Finance at East Davidson High School.
As he accepted the award, he joked, "This is an old person's award, but on behalf of PACE, I'll accept it."
It's not an old person's award. It's an award that reflects the passion that will continue to lead Thomasville to an engaged future.
Milliren was quick praise the accomplishments of others, but incoming Chamber Chairman Hope Surratt took the podium to praise Milliren for his leadership with the Chamber and the Thomasville Rotary Club.
"We appreciate what you have done for this community," Surratt said. "We can continue to help entrepreneurs become prepared, committed citizens."
Milliren acknowledged the obstacles when he offered this quote:
"What do we do in the face of adversity? We can sit around and complain about how bad things are, or we can adapt and adjust. I'm glad we chose the latter."
So am I.