A full crowd was in attendance at the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Annual Meeting last night. Held at the Prescott High School cafeteria and catered by Fore of a Kind BBQ, participants began the night by mingling, eating, and perusing the options available for the live and silent auctions, while also listening to lively emcee Lynn Vanderveer. Each table was decked out with innovative and charming centerpieces displaying a place card along with a photo of the assigned group.
Chamber Director Jamie Hillery had a few words to kick off the ceremony by thanking all who attended and recognizing individuals and guests such as State Representative Danny Watson, Senator Charles Beckham, Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver, and city and county elected officials. Hillery then recognized the Class of 2021 Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, all who have served a three year term on the board. Starting off with 2021 President Sarah Cross, Hillery said the community has been truly blessed to have her service, saying Cross has gone over and beyond to help with the Chamber and the community. Then Hillery recognized Cassidy Lawrence, Vince Grimes, Eric Fatherree, Samantha Gummeson, Jake Cornelius, and Jeffery Wiliams.
Hillery also took a moment to pay tribute to late Chamber Board member, Paula Ledbetter, described as a true friend with a passion and creativity she shared with many. A plaque and bouquet of flowers were given to her family which was accepted by Claire Laughard.
During the live auction, items such as a Razorback bench, Prescott Curley Wolves all season passes, a Blackstone griddle, a Prescott “P” bench, and two Kickback Rockers were just a few of the popular items up for bid at the live auction, called by auctioneer Don Honea. Another favorite of the night was a gun raffle for a Savage 110 Apex Hunter XP 6.5 Creedmore Rifle with a Vortex Crossfire II Scope which had many attendees entering for a chance to win.
The highlight of the night though was the awards portion of the banquet. Presenters gave a short speech for each category and a common theme could be heard for each: dedication, hard work, selflessness, and an abiding love for helping others. Honorees displayed heartfelt appreciation, and some were visibly overcome with emotion making their sincerity to duty and affection for community evident for all to see. The award recipients are listed below, as well as a small description provided by presenters.
- Farm Family of the Year: Richard and Cathy Jones
- The Jones family has had an impact on the community through their chicken and cattle operations and to the children and community of Nevada County through many years with the Nevada County Fair Board and 4-H.
- Business Leadership Award: Prescott Raceway (Jackie and Velvet Lewis)
- Prescott Raceway has provided a family-friendly atmosphere for families to enjoy on the weekends. On an average race weekend, a few hundred patrons enter the raceway, and while visiting they purchase food, gas, and other supplies for the races which boost the local economy. Special events attract even more visitors, like in 2001 when Prescott Raceway welcomed JJ “the Boss” from Street Outlaws which attracted 8,000 racegoers to Nevada County.
- Nevada Educator of the Year – Bobby Mullins
- Mullins is not only a record-winning coach, but leads students in more than just athletics. He wants students to win in all areas of life when they leave school and become successful adults to come back and live in the community.
- Nevada Student of the Year – Breanna Lowe
- Lowe is a student who is described by every teacher in all positive ways. She is the highest in her class, graduating with a 4.0, and has led her peers as a cheerleader and basketball player. Administration calls Lowe an exceptional young lady.
- Prescott Educator of the Year – Pearl Bailey
- Bailey has been teaching 44 years and is always available with great advice and wisdom for coworkers. She is described as a hard-working teacher who makes sure everything is in order for students and works with parents to achieve student success.
- Prescott Student of the Year – Jada Purifoy
- Purifoy is a student who is top of her class, has the highest GPA, and was voted homecoming queen by her peers. She is described as sweet, smart, and very bright by faculty and staff. Purifoy’s principal says there is no limit to what she can do.
- Organization of the Year – Hamilton Haven (Michelle Hamilton Rhodes and Christy Higginbotham)
- Hamilton Haven’s mission statement is “To offer immediate short term relief for families or individuals transitioning from crisis to stability.” This mission is accomplished by utilizing volunteers from the community to support and assist the neighbors who stay with Hamilton Haven and offer resources, identify needs, and locate resources to meet those needs when possible. Hamilton Haven is described as having selfless passion and dedication to serving the community.
- Treasure of Gold – Judy Duke
- Duke has been a part of the Prescott/Nevada County Community for over 50 years. She has served on countless boards and organizations. She is described as a dedicated community leader who has put her whole heart into making Prescott/Nevada County a wonderful place to live, work, and worship, in addition to having a heart of gold who is always willing to help.
- Hometown Hero – David Gummeson
- Gummeson is quiet and humble, moving throughout the community doing good works without calling attention to himself for many years. He is loved and supported by many and has worn many hats over the years. A few of which are the role of current Nevada County Coroner, Deputy OEM Coordinator, Prescott Fire Chief, and loving husband and father.
- Citizen of the Year – Satarra Williams
- Williams is a community leader who has provided more than a helping hand. Her kindness, knowledge, and compassion have brought about positive changes. She has served on multiple civic, church, school, youth, and community organizations and is described as a special lady who has pride, commitment, and dedication to making a better future for Prescott/Nevada County. Williams is described as helpful above and beyond, and will help anyone who needs it.
As the night wound to a close, new Chamber President Lee Doucet shared a few words with the crowd and thanked the Chamber Board for putting on the event, as well as Jamie Hillery and Jade Cornelius for their hard work. He also expressed appreciation to Prescott schools for the use of the facility, Fore of A Kind BBQ for the wonderful meal, emcee Lynn Vanderveer, and all participants in attendance for supporting the chamber.