Each year, the White House Chamber recognizes individuals who played a role in shaping the city into a better community for residents
This month’s Luncheon and Awards Ceremony was a complete surprise for six individuals who have gone above and beyond. It took many tricks and deceptions to get the recipients to the right place without knowing that they would be honored.
Chamber Director Mandy Christenson summed it up best, "They are all so involved in the community that it took a little finagling to get them here, we have woven a web of deceptions." A short video introduced each award highlighting the community efforts and achievements of each honoree.
The first honoree named was Ambassador of the Year. This award goes to the volunteer Chamber Ambassador who has been the most helpful and selfless in serving the business partners and community. It was given to White House Bojangles’ manager Tamee Knapp.
Christenson described her attributes, "Tamee Knapp has been an asset to us since the day she walked through the chamber doors. She not only serves White House but also works in Clarksville and Bowling Green with the same enthusiasm and smiling face. She lives in Smyrna and puts in a lot of miles to serve White House."
The Prosperity Mortgage Advisors Impact Award is given to a non-profit organization in recognition of service, visibility, impact and community partnerships. This year the recipient was Mark Carroll for his work with the Temple Baptist Church program, Celebrate Recovery.
Carroll thanked the community for the honor and said of the program, "We are seeing lives changed on a daily basis. It is an honor to receive this award and to be part of Celebrate Recovery."
Celebrate Recovery is a Christian twelve-step program to assist and support those dealing with 'hurts, habits and hang-ups' including addiction, abuse and anxiety. The group meets on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Temple Baptist Church on Marlin Road. Website: http://www.templetoday.com/ministries/community-ministries/celebrate-recovery/
The White House Youth Soccer Junior Citizen of the Year Award is given to a student who has demonstrated service and leadership within the community. The recipient for 2019 was Aspen Finch, a student-athlete at White House Middle School.
"She is humble but courageous," said Josh Colley, teacher and sponsor of the White House Middle School Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization. "She has a quiet leadership about her."
Each year The Connection sponsors the Horizon Award. It is given to a Chamber business partner based on positive impact, community service, economic development and improvements to the city. Joey Tate, president of Tate Granite and Tate Ornamental received the award for, "Helping to make White House a great place to live, work and play," said Christenson. The company has grown from five to over 250 employees since its creation.
Tate described the faith and family-based philosophy of the company and added, "We do everything we can to make it a place where they want to come and retire. We are glad to be here and proud to be a part of this community."
Twenty-year employee, Joyce Neuenschwander said of Tate, "It just makes a world of difference when you come to work and you know that people care about you."
She described the employees that have been with the company for many years, "We're a family. We get to know their lives. We're happy when they're happy and we're sad when they're sad."
Nominated for his many works including: the Youth of White House United Methodist Church, the DARE program, police bicycle giveaways, S.P.E.A.R.E. Women's safety training, dedication to physical fitness and devotion to family, White House Police Officer Eric Enck was named the Robertson County Times Citizen of the Year.
Zach Cowfer from White First United Methodist Church said of his friend and karate instructor, "You have always been an example of what a leader should act like.
"You've taught me how to take hits both mentally and physically - both on the mat and off the mat. You've pushed me to be the best that I can and it's really shaped who I am today."
Following the presentation, Enck said, "I truly believe I have been placed here to serve and again thank you for the humbling experience and for this award."
The final award given at the luncheon was new to the community.
Christenson explained, "Once in a while you run across a nominee that is just a little bit more, maybe they don't fit in the boxes the right way because what they've done overflows the boxes year after year. We had just that scenario this year so our award committee decided to create a new award - one that may not be given out annually but will be there when we need it."
Named for his devotion to community and long service as mayor, school principal, and member of the Rotary Club, the Billy S. Hobbs Lifetime of Service to the City Award was created. It was given to Mark Reid by Dr. Hobbs. Reid was recognized for his work with youth athletics and for his leadership with the Chamber of Commerce.
Hobbs said of Reid, "Well, I know of no one better. I have known Mark so long that I know what he is. I know what kind of character he is and certainly, you'd want someone receiving an award named for you to be a great character in the community. He deserves it because he is community-minded.
"It's not for self. It's not to glorify one's self. It's what you may do for others that you'll be remembered for and Mark [Reid] is that kind of guy."
Stunned that he was selected for the award, Reid said, "I love this community. I'm very blessed to live in a town that embraces the sense of pride that we have. I am so proud and it is my duty and my honor to give back.
“I can't think of a better place to live, work, play and worship than this community -thank you."
Two new Chamber members were welcomed at the November meeting. The first was Jeremy Perger from D.R. Horton Company. They are currently building 700 new homes in the Parks development behind Heritage High School. The second new member introduced was Domino Hunt of Bikers Against Breast Cancer. According to Hunt, this 501C charity boasts of giving 100 percent of its annual funds to help cancer patients with living expenses.