• 41°

Chamber celebrates, looks forward

WESSON – Community leaders celebrated a successful year andtouted a bright future Thursday during the annualBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce banquet.

Mayor Bob Massengill said there is “tremendous cooperation”between city, county and chamber officials. He said good things arehappening in the community.

“We’re excited about that,” the mayor said.

Bobby J. Watts, board of supervisors president, said thecommunity is coming along strong. He said supervisors are workingto get better roads and bridges to encourage even more newbusinesses to come to Brookhaven and Lincoln County.

“This is going to be the hottest spot between Memphis and NewOrleans in time to come,” Watts said.

Among awards during the annual event, Robert E. Smith Jr. wasrecognized as the Agribusiness of the Year. Smith operates a treefarm on more than 400 acres in the McCall Creek area.

Also in the area of forest-related activities, Cortez Byrd andCo. was recognized at the chamber’s Industry of the Year.

Byrd has more than 40 years in the timber business. He operatestwo chip mills in Lincoln County, has a new tie and timberoperation under construction and is directly or indirectlyresponsible for more than 200 jobs in the county, chamber officialssaid.

Cindy Davis, a second grade teacher at Mamie Martin ElementarySchool, was honored as the Educator of the Year.

Catherine Dickey received the chamber’s Ambassador of the Yearaward and the Contact Club championship. The Contact Clubrecognition goes to the person who recruits the most new chambermembers.

“She has been a really great example to all of us for what anambassador is,” Membership Division Chairman David Holland said ofDickey, who signed up 11 new chamber members during this year’scampaign.

The message for the evening was growth and continueddevelopment.

Kenny Goza, 2004 chamber president, said there were 26ribbon-cutting ceremonies in the last year. He said that equates toone event every other week to recognize a new business, newlocation of a business or new ownership.

“That is a tremendous message about how this community isgrowing,” Goza said.

Later, Goza touted Brookhaven’s goal of moving from a goodcommunity to a great community. He cited three U’s: utilizingresources, acting unselfishly and acting in a unified manner.

“It’s time for us to raise the bar,” Goza said. “It’s time forus to move to the next level.”

Lavelle Sullivan, the chamber’s 2005 president, echoed Goza’ssentiments.

“We’re poised to do great things,” Sullivan said. “We can gonowhere but up.”