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Boswell honored as top community industry

The Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce proved it isnot all business when members and guests met for the 78th annualbanquet Thursday in the Thames Conference Center on the campus ofCopiah-Lincoln Community College.

Chamber members, city and state officials, and visitors joinedin fellowship and food to discuss the chamber’s accomplishmentsover the past year and to recognize outstanding affiliates.

“This is an event I think all our members enjoy,” said JeffDoremus, 2010 chamber president. “It’s a gathering where we get tocome together as a community, we get together and celebrate theyear.”

Along with full stomachs, some chamber members walked away witha nice piece of hardware. Plaques were given to chamber members inhonor of individual achievements.

Some award winners at this year’s event included Soap Box Awardrecipient Bill Sones, Agri-Leader of the Year recipient RebeccaBates, Educator of the Year recipient Lea Barrett, Ambassador ofthe Year recipient Catherine Dickey and Jimmy Furlow CommunityService Award recipient Kenny Goza.

However, the chamber’s biggest nod, the Industry of the YearAward, went to Boswell Industries Brookhaven Division.

Sones, Industrial Development Foundation president, said some ofthe many reasons why Boswell received the award were due to themany services they offer and their strong involvement in thebusiness community.

“They’re so active in our chamber,” said Sones. “We seldom havea program that one of their representatives is not present.”

The Brookhaven division of Boswell opened in the Industrial Parkin March of 1999. At that time, the company worked with 26 mentallyhandicapped individuals, but has grown since to 72. The businesshas also been responsible for shipping 8 million products in eachof the last four years.

Eddie Conn, director of vocational services for Boswell inBrookhaven, credited the success of the company to his “team.”

“I have a very good staff that’s helped put this together,” saidConn. “I don’t feel like I’ve had anything to do with it, it’s ateam effort.”

While not everyone took home an award, everyone was treated tosome comic relief from editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey. Ramseydisplayed several of his cartoons depicting Gov. Haley Barbour,previous presidents, the oil spill and Ole Miss.

“I’m a big fan of your town,” said Ramsey. “I’m blown away byhow nice you all are and what you have going on down here.”

When the laughter settled, it would soon be closing time forthis year’s event.

The night concluded with a farewell speech from Doremus and anintroduction of the new chamber president, King’s Daughters MedicalCenter Chief Executive Officer Alvin Hoover.

“He’s such a great leader at King’s Daughters and I think that’sgoing to spill over into the chamber,” Doremus said of Hoover.

Hoover moved here from South Carolina in 2007 to accept the CEOposition at the hospital. Ever since, he has been an active memberin the business community and is looking forward to the future.

“This community is moving and shaking, that’s what I like aboutit,” said Hoover. “Our success over the past year has not beenbecause of luck.”

Hoover went on to commend Doremus on a job well done and addressthe business community about, what he hopes, will be a fun andexciting year.

“We’re going to continue to look for opportunities to improveour economy in Brookhaven and Lincoln County,” said Hoover. “Overthis next year, I hope you all join me as if it all depends on you- because it does.”