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Banquet highlights community

The Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce celebrated thebest of the community’s businesses at the 77th annual meeting heldTuesday night.

Brookhaven’s five new car dealers, Stan King GM Superstore,Legacy Toyota, Paul Barnett Nissan, Barker Honda and Sullivan FordLincoln Mercury, were honored with the Industry of the Year Award.Chamber officials touted the auto industry’s role in keeping thecity’s sales tax revenues above those of other cities in thestate.

“We lead the state for communities our size,” IndustrialDevelopment Foundation President Bill Sones told the group at theThames Center on the Copiah-Lincoln Community College campus. “Alot of that is driven by our auto dealers.”

Sones went on to point out that if area residents would buy alltheir vehicles in Brookhaven, it could make a great difference inthe city’s income.

“People ask me all the time when this recession will be over,”he said. “If we shop at home, it’ll be over in Brookhaven andLincoln County a lot faster.”

Terry Pappas, who has become a well-known part of downtownrenovations as Brookhaven has chased its downtown beautificationprojects, was honored with the Soap Box Award. It is given to anindividual who has helped encourage and promote the communitythrough work in various activities.

“I was shocked, I’m flattered,” Pappas said. “But I thinkthere’s a whole lot of people more deserving than me, I’m impressedwith a lot of the people that put their time and effort into thiscommunity, and a lot of them deserve it.”

The Agri-Business of the Year Award went to Nunnery Dairy.

Outgoing Chamber of Commerce President Stan Foster said DavidNunnery, who owns the farm with his wife Jene’ and his son Thomas,has been in the industry for 20 years. The family has 160 head ofdairy cattle, Foster said, and 60 beef cattle on 800 acres ofland.

The Jimmy Furlow Community Service Award was presented to DAILYLEADER Advertising and Circulation Manager David Culpepper, who wasrecognized for his contributions to the community, with specificreference to the Mississippi Scholars Program.

“This award is for someone who gives of themselves for thebetterment of the community,” said Kenny Goza, who presented theaward. “It’s for someone who does what they do not because theyhave to, but because they get to.”

Educator of the Year went to Brookhaven High School teacherLeAnn Peavey.

“A community can only grow as much as its education will letit,” said former Chamber President Rob McCreary. “One word sums upthis person: Dedication.”

Meanwhile, Chamber Ambassador Catherine Dickey took home theAmbassador of the Year Award, as well as the Membership Award forbringing businesses into the chamber during the year.

Foster passed the gavel to incoming President Jeff Doremus, whotakes his place with new board members Culpepper, Natalie Davis,Goza, Pap Henderson, Dustin Walker, Angie Warren and new VicePresident Alvin Hoover.

“I have always felt that there was so much in this community tobe proud of, and this last year has only confirmed that,” Fostersaid.

Meanwhile, keynote speaker Bill Hudson, who pioneered HudsonSalvage, which includes Dirt Cheap and Treasure Hunt stores, talkedto the group about his triumvirate of success.

He said if they have a goal, a plan, and a burning desire, theycan accomplish anything. At the same time, he said, it’s importantto keep success in perspective.

“I was once very poor and then I became wealthy,” he said. “Iwas just as happy before I was wealthy. I didn’t know I was poor,because we were happy.”