Chamber honors well deserved

February 27, 2014

Winners of Tuesday night’s Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce awards (see story on Page A1) were most deserving of the accolades bestowed upon them, not just for their support of the Chamber and its activities but for their continued commitment to this wonderful community in which we are all a part.

Cliff Ireland, named the Chamber’s Outstanding Member of the Year, was a great selection for the honor bestowed upon him. Actively involved in so many aspects of the community, including through his job as director of Sampson Community College’s Small Business Center, Ireland truly does have a “heart for business,” as mentioned during his introduction Tuesday night.

He also has a deep love for the Chamber and a belief in promoting businesses and business people at every turn. Those are facts his actions attest to, particularly given that he can usually be spotted at most business events, camera in hand, smile on his face, doing what Ireland does best — making people feel welcomed and appreciated for the efforts they put forth in the business community and beyond.

As civic-minded as he is business-minded, Ireland epitomizes what a well-rounded Chamber award recipient should be, giving of his time, supportive of business and industry, a hard worker for the community and a personable and approachable individual who puts others before himself.

For all those reasons, and many more, Ireland was most deserving of the honor given him by Chamber members.

So, too, was the honor bestowed upon Wilbert Faircloth, named this year’s Business Person of the Year. A genteel man with a deep and lasting love of community, Faircloth has practiced law in Clinton for the past 46 years. He and his family have given back to this community for decades, and Faircloth, himself, is a shining example of the award bestowed upon him. He is a stalwart businessman who has always humbly and quietly conducted business in a professional manner, making a quite mark on the lives he’s touched along the way.

Deserving, too, are the others receiving awards earlier this week, and those who were nominated but didn’t take home the award. From Wanda Coleman’s Dance Shoppe and Tutus Too, which earned the Small Business Excellence Award to Jenny Evans of Evans Catering, winner of the Chamber’s Entrepreneurial Excellence award, and this year’s Garnie Edwards Ambassador of the Year recipient Rebecca Rooks, all have contributed much to this community.

So, too, have those who were nominated for awards — Railroad Street Steakhouse, Tires Inc., Simpson & Holland Appraisal Service, Tickled Pink and Larry Barnes. They were also deserving of the nods they were given and have, over many years, returned much to the community that has supported them.

It’s important to note that the accolades are real because the commitment to this community is just as real and offered up by each of those named Tuesday night, whether they won or were merely nominated.

What’s more, every business person in Tuesday night’s audience has a common focus — making Sampson County better.

And, as Ireland said, this is a great community, one easy to support and promote.

It’s a true statement and one in which we should all be very grateful.