Matt Windom of the Carroll County Water Authority on Friday night challenged the local business community to be champions for success by encouraging and helping those who need help.

Windom, the new chairman of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, spoke during the chamber’s annual banquet. The 63rd annual dinner was held under the theme “Champions for Success” in the Coliseum at the University of West Georgia.

Steve Adams of West Georgia Ambulance was overcome with emotion when he accepted the 2017 Citizen of the Year Award.

“This is shocking,” he said. “This has been a great community where there is a lot of support in this community .... We live in a community where citizenship is what makes this community (one) that I am proud to be a part of.”

Jill Duncan, known in the area for working with churches and organizations, was awarded the Horizon Award which salutes outstanding volunteerism.

The Thomas S. Upchurch Workforce Education Award went to Paula Gillispie, who taught in public schools in Arkansas and Virginia before eventually leading Oak Mountain Academy and serving on several education boards.

Wayne and Patty Payne, who met when they worked for Turner Broadcasting in the 1980s, won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Omni Call and Funeral Call which has grown into a nationwide company.

Robin Custard was named WBA Woman of the Year, Chriss Messer won Small Business Person of the Year award, SunSouth received the Agribusiness Business Award, and Dough and Dorcie Smith won the Agribusiness Award.

Ryan Ayers won the Agribusiness Special Award and Clearview Installations LLC won the New Business Start-Up Award.

Amy Brown, immediate past president of the chamber’s Executive Committee, said she had an amazing year in 2017 and that she was proud of the community that she got to represent.

“The big thing about the chamber is that it is all about business and growing business and being an encouragement for businesses and that’s what the Business Development Committee is going to do,” she said. “We’re going to go back to the roots to where the Business Development Committee started.”

Windom, executive director of the Carroll County Water Authority, said he is honored to have the opportunity to be the new chairman and said it a great way to give back to the community he loves and wants to serve.

He said there are people who need encouragement and need to be lifted up when they are going through a tough time.

“So be that encourager,” he said. “Somebody probably believed in you even before you thought you could do it yourself.

“My challenge for you as we go throughout this year is we know that we have people in the community that need an advocate. There are people in this community that we know even in our close circle that need encouragement and needs somebody to believe in them and be a champion for them. So I will challenge you to find those people within your circle, within your business, and community and find those people and be a champion for them, reach down and pull them up and if we do that, we will continue to build this chamber up.”


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