(T-G Photo by Mitchell Petty) [Order this photo]
A crowd of local businessmen and women, local leaders and other Chamber supporters were on hand to congratulate four individuals recognized for their contributions to the community.
Evelyn McGrew received a standing ovation when she accepted the biggest honor -- the Franklin Yates Lifetime Achievement Award.
(T-G Photo by Sadie Fowler)
"For many years, this person has been a very active supporter of Shelbyville and Bedford County," said Shelbyville city council member Kay Rose, who served as master of ceremonies.
"Her strong leadership skills and enthusiasm have made her not only an asset but an ambassador for our community.
"For over a decade, she was the heart and soul of the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce and is still recognized and remembered in Nashville among the Economic and Development community for her work with local and statewide industries."
Under McGrew's leadership, Stanley Tools, Ilene Industries, Calsonic Kansei and the Shelbyville Recycling Center were established.
The award is named for the late long-time publisher of the Times-Gazette, who merged the Bedford County Times and the Shelbyville Gazette in the 1940s.
Jerry Ward received the Special Service Award.
"Jerry has contributed generously to the visual and structural aspects of the historic environment of Shelbyville with attention to detail and sensitivity to the conservation of the character of this community," Rose said.
"He served on the Shelbyville Historic Zoning Commission and during this time his talents and expertise were hallmarks of a lifetime of preservation advocacy."
The advisory board of the local Boys & Girls Club earned the Deery Eakin Volunteer of the Year Award.
"This group has empowered individuals and businesses alike in our community with a volunteer spirit that has provided the manpower, in-kind contributions, financial contributions and support of their annual signature event, the 'Steak & Chicken Dinner,'" Rose said.
The club, which celebrates its first anniversary next month, provides services to more than 100 local children.
The award is named for the late local educator and community leader who was also the namesake for Eakin Elementary School.
Charles McDonald earned the Outstanding Leadership Award for the leadership qualities he has demonstrated to the county for countless years.
McDonald has served as a reserve sheriff's deputy and has been a volunteer firefighter for more than 30 years. He has also served as past chairman of the Emergency Communications District (E-911) board and currently serves as the assistant to the CEO of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
"While he is enjoying his retirement from Duck River Electric after 37 years, you can see that with his vast commitments to organizations in our community, he is still very busy," Rose said.
Ron Ricotta, CEO of Century Mold Inc., was guest speaker. Ricotta spoke of the importance of manufacturing jobs to the local economy.
Also on Tuesday, the Chamber's 2011 president, Ben Craig, passed the torch to incoming president Ed Gray.
Gray retired last year as superintendent of Bedford County schools. He acknowledged the area's positive growth and urged attendees to continue their work to improve Bedford County.
"Folks, it is our job to protect and promote this positive move forward," Gray said.
(T-G Photo by Sadie Fowler) [Order this photo]