Hartselle Chamber honors several at annual gala
Special to the Enquirer
The Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce held its 44th Annual Meeting and Awards Gala May 7 with more than 250 people in attendance at the Cook Museum of Natural Science in Decatur.
“We are excited to see so many people here to celebrate all the good things we have going on in our area after a difficult year,” said Missy Evans, executive director of the HACC. “It is a time to celebrate what we’ve accomplished and what we have ahead.”
Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks introduced the evening’s speaker, Hartselle native Jody Singer, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. Singer praised the energy, education system and growth in the Hartselle area and emphasized that the community is vitally important to NASA’s Artemis program, which is well underway and seeks to return to the moon and then go on to Mars.
“We are focused, and we are going,” Singer said. “This community plays a vital role in this mission. To use a football analogy, we are now in the first quarter, and community support is critical to our mission’s success.”
Various members of the HACC Board of Directors presented the five annual awards to members of the community:
Dr. Thomas Guyton Humanitarian Award
Kelli Morton, lead nurse for Hartselle City Schools and children’s minister for Hartselle First United Methodist Church, received the Dr. Thomas Guyton Humanitarian Award from Mike Tucker, HACC Board member and owner of LifeWork Physical Therapy.
“This past year dealing with COVID has been difficult for everyone, but (Morton) has maintained service above self through it all,” Tucker said. “She has had to make difficult decisions, deliver bad news and work countless hours behind the scenes to ensure our students, our schools and our community were safe.
“She was a major voice in creating the Hartselle City Schools Roadmap to Restart program to allow our kids to begin school on time in a safe environment and then continued to work with our coaches to instill safe practice protocols, which has played a key role in allowing sporting activities to continue throughout the year.”
John J. Sparkman Citizenship Award
Virginia Alexander, Morgan Baptist Association director of Christian Community Ministries (The Caring Place) and current Hartselle councilwoman, received the John J. Sparkman Citizenship Award from Maegan Jones, HACC Board member and Realtor with MarMac Real Estate in Hartselle.
“(Alexander) is always eager to help whenever called upon,” Jones said. “She is an encourager to all and a wonderful representative of our city … She oversees The Caring Place, which provides food, clothing and household items to support those in need. She has served the Morgan County 911 dispatch organization for over 20 years, where she has been instrumental in integrating the consolidation of dispatching in Morgan County.”
E.R. Roberts Business Award
Art Glasgow, owner of Peck-Glasgow Insurance, received the E.R. Roberts Business Award from Stewart Smallwood, HACC Board member and president of Hartselle-based Cerrowire.
“(Peck) has been a member of the Hartselle Chamber since it was established in 1974. He served on the Board of Directors and as the chairman,” Smallwood said. “He’s been a top 20 investor in Chamber programs, including participation in our Trackman Campaign.
“He also is a member of the Rotary Club, where he served as club president and received the Paul Harris Fellow award, which is the highest award a Rotarian can receive. When our school system has needed help, he’s consistently stepped up … whether it was for art programs, academics or sports.”
Tommy Ed Roberts Civic Award
Jonathan Hampton, Hartselle Utilities electric superintendent, received the Tommy Ed Roberts Civic Award from Daxton Maze, HACC Board member, Hartselle School Board member and engineering services manager for Hartselle Utilities.
After nearly 20 years at Hartselle Utilities, where he started as an equipment operator for the sewer department, Hampton was promoted to electric superintendent in 2007, Maze said. There, “Jonathan has directed the electric operations in a manner that has helped increase the resiliency of the electric grid and also bolster a system that has become extremely reliable for our customers,” Maze said. “Hartselle Utilities and the City of Hartselle are better today because Jonathan Hampton has dedicated a career to serving the people of this area. He is steady, dependable and deserving of much praise.”
English-Walker Ambassador of the Year Award
Jennifer Williams, Hartselle Ambassador president, received the English-Walker Ambassador of the Year Award from Ashley Holladay, HACC Board member and dentist at Hartselle Family Dentistry.
“While this year’s recipient is not a native of Hartselle, she has fully embraced it as her hometown. (Williams) is a magazine and newspaper writer and editor and has become very involved with many civic organizations in the Hartselle area,” Holladay said.
“Over the last year she has helped take on the task of revamping the Ambassador program and rewriting and editing much of the literature used by the chamber to help with members and volunteers. She truly has a servant’s heart and is always willing to serve in whatever capacity may be needed, whether volunteering at events or with member care.”
A BRIGHT FUTURE
After the awards, the gavel officially passed from Tammy Lott, branch manager of Redstone Federal Credit Union, to Brad Sheats, pastor of Life Church, who will serve the next year as HACC chairman of the Board.
“I do believe that as we are coming out of COVID, it is time for us to not just coast but to put our foot on the pedal,” Sheats said. “We are going to see the Chamber doing things these next few years that have never been done before. We are ready to put our foot on the gas and really get somewhere.”
Smallwood, the new chair-elect for the HACC Board, closed the evening by talking about the Trackman Campaign, a capital campaign to help the Chamber continue to move forward in serving existing, new and prospective businesses in the community.
“This is an exciting time to be a part of the Hartselle community,” he said. “We are actually up to about $480,000 in investments in our campaign. We are just so proud to take that next step of making this community a better place for our families.”