Mt. Olive Chamber presents awards
By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on November 4, 2004 2:01 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- The Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce honored its members Wednesday night and shined the spotlight on three who work behind the scenes.
The chamber's new chairman, Kim Bowers, presented the Chamber Champ Award at the annual membership banquet held at the Southern Wayne Country Club. The new honor went to Preston Jones, Sherwood Jernigan of John Patterson Furniture and Joe Dan Waller of Waller Hardware.
The Chamber Champ Award honors individual and business members who have helped in a special way but have not received recognition.
For example, on the eve of the N.C. Pickle Festival, pigs and ducks arrived in Mount Olive for the popular Pig and Duck Race. They had no place to go. Jernigan allowed the chamber to use the lot next to the furniture store. The hardware store provided flower settings for the children to plant during the festival.
Jones, who the chamber members call "Mr. P," attends all the meetings and has helped with numerous events.
Other new officers announced Wednesday night were Mike Rackley, chairman-elect; Karen Bass, treasurer; Julie Beck, past-chairman; Patti O'Donoghue, secretary; and the new at-large board members, Debbie Jones, Stephanie Kornegay and Paul Smalley. Their terms, which are for three years, began on Monday. They are pictured on 5A.
The keynote speaker was John Cooper, state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office in Raleigh. He administers programs that increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural citizens across the state.
Cooper said the office went after federal money that other states had not used. It helped build 17 medical clinics in the state. And it has been making money on its loans.
The office provided $22 million to Mount Olive alone for local projects.
The office helped the town get a $412,000 fire truck.
It helped Northpointe multi-family housing with $628,000 for rental assistance and a $625,000 loan.
The office guaranteed a $100,000 loan for the construction of the Andy's Corp. headquarters in the industrial park.
The office helped the airport build a hangar with a $225,000 loan.
The town's regional sewer system received a $4 million loan and a $4 million grant.
The Mount Olive Family Medicine Center received $1.7 million in the form of a $500,000 grant and a $1.2 million loan for its new clinic on Breazeale Avenue.
The Mount Olive College Foundation received a $10 million loan for construction of three new buildings on campus.
The Boys and Girls Club received $359,000.
The office created 6,000 jobs in the past four years in the state's communities with less than 50,000 population, he said.
"Other states were not up to our energy level," said Cooper. " ... I want to be so far ahead nobody thinks about catching us."
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