Festive Chamber event raises spirits, funds
BY STEPHEN FLANAGAN JACKSON
STARKE — An all-evening light rain outside did not adversely affect the festive spirit of the sparkling Paris lights inside the Johns Conference Center here Saturday night at the North Florida Regional Chamber of Commerce annual membership gala.
Although some may not have gotten what they came for, due to their own low bid, the large throng enjoyed themselves in a spirit of revelry replete with food, beverages, and a kaleidoscope of fashion.
Awards and installation of a new Chamber board kept the evening moving until the “piece de resistance” of several hours’ worth of music served by the electronic wizardry of David “Mr. Saturday Nite” Rodgers which maintained the rhythm and beat until just past the midnight hour.
The Chamber Awards for 2016 in the designated categories went to the following:
–Eugene L. Matthews Citizen of the Year: John Miller, publisher of the Bradford County Telegraph, the Union County Times, and the Lake Region Monitor, and a supporter of education and economic development in the three-county area.
–J.E. Tomlinson Business Person of the Year: Chef James Jackson and Tamara Jackson of the Call Street Café, now open for evening dinner on Thursday and Friday as well as for breakfast and lunch daily except Tuesday.
–Pat Farnsworth Workforce Award: Elder Ross Chandler, founder and director of True Vine Ministries and five-term member and present chair of the Bradford County Commission.
–Volunteer of the Year: Gerald Moody, Food Pantry Food Procurement Coordinator.
–Large Business of the Year: The Riverwood Health & Rehabilitation Center and Greystone Health Network which provides quality rehabilitation and long term care to Bradford, Union, and Clay counties.
–Small Business of the Year: Pam and Darren Summers, Badcock Home Furnishings and More of Starke which recently relocated to a brand new building on Hwy. 301 S.