LAURINBURG — Johnathon Lewis has been a member of the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce for less than two years ago so he was happy, but very surprised when he was named Volunteer of the Year.
The award was handed out at the chamber’s 79th annual chamber membership dinner.
“It was a shock,” said Lewis who joined the chamber in 2016 along with his employer Carolina Hearts Home Care.
The award goes to a chamber volunteer who “is committed to the mission of the chamber and who demonstrates a genuine personal effort to carry out specific objectives by one or more of the varying committees.”
The 37-year-old, who serves as assistant director at Carolina Hearts, has been an active member of the Christmas Parade, Oyster Roast, Chamber Ambassadors, and the Scotland County Arts Council board. He is also an advocate for Family Care Giver Support, a separate nonprofit.
“I’m the kind of person who hates to say no,” Lewis said. “So I’ll do it then I’ll give it my all.”
At the chamber’s annual Christmas Parade he worked the lineup and at the Oyster Roast, he worked as a bartender. As part of the Ambassadors, Lewis is part of the goodwill group that helps staff events.
“Wherever they need me I usually fit,” said Lewis.
Lewis also attended multiple other chamber events like ribbon cuttings and After Hours events.
“Jonathon has brought a new excitement to the chamber by his eagerness to get involved in the community,” said chamber Executive Director Chris English. “This excitement becomes contagious on the committees that Jonathon serves on.”
Lewis also works with the Arts Council of Scotland County and is currently helping organize the Black History Month Program, where there will be a screening of Wilmington on Fire on Feb. 24.
Originally from St. Pauls, Lewis moved to Laurinburg in 2010.
“I love the community, I love Scotland County, I love Laurinburg.” Lewis said. “And there are really good people here.”
Other award recipients:
The Dunbar-McCoy Quality of Life Award is given to a member of the community who is considered to a civic-minded “unsung hero” who unselfishly contributed time and energy to the community.
WLNC radio broadcaster Sandy Callahan was 30th recipient of the award.
Callahan was recognized as someone actively involved in the community.
County Commissioner Carol McCall presented the award to Callahan and read from a letter from former Board of Education Director Buck Carter.
“For 30 years is a trusted source of community information. His dependability is without a doubt and his belief in the community is infallible,” McCall said. “It keeps us grounded in ourselves and our efforts for success. He is the voice of what’s happening in Scotland County.”
Callahan thanked everyone in the crowd for the award but admitted he felt there were many more people in the community who deserved the award more.
Business of the Year
The Business of the Year is awarded to a local business who has made significant contributions to the community or has served Scotland County Area in exceptional ways for more than five years.
The award went to the Service Thread plant in Laurinburg.
“There is no question how much they value their employees and the community has a whole,” English said.
The company is extending a passion for service both inside their facilities and out such as presenting sponsor of Scotland Memorial Foundation’s FundRun and a contributor to Christmas Cheer.
“We remain committed to investing time and money directly into our workforce to pursue more advanced manufacturing processes,” said Jay Todd, the chief operating officer for Service Thread. “As well as to ensure our employees their families and fellow community members thrive.”
Small Business of the Year
The chamber gave out its first ever Small Business of the Year Award. The award follows the same criteria as the Business of the Year Award, however, the business must have less than 20 employees.
Being a family-owned business that has been around since 1934 Bob’s Jewel Shop received the award.
Small Business of the Year award was given out to Bob’s Jewel Shop which has been in Laurinburg since 1934.
“This is the first year of this award and we are excited about the opportunity to honor a business that has been family owned and operated since 1934,” said English.
The business is known for its willingness to help out other organizations by providing raffle prizes, such as a gold earring and necklace set for the Wine and Ales for Waggin Tails event put on by the Humane Society.
“Both Businesses of the Year recipients are models of what a community business partner should be,” said English “They want to see Scotland County as a whole prosper and they do what is right and give back to the community that supports them.”
Mountaire Farms Better Carolina Award
The Mountaire Farms Better Carolina Award is given to individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty to help make their communities better places to live.
The award was given to Brenda Gilbert, who received the award in May 2017, but was recognized again at the dinner.
“Without question, Ms. Brenda Ginn Gilbert has made Scotland County and North Carolina a better place to live, to work, to play by her many contributions to Scotland County,” said Reif.
Gilbert has served on numerous boards in different organizations in the community including the chamber’s interim president in 2012.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171