01/25/05 — Edmundson honored at chamber banquet

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Edmundson honored at chamber banquet

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on January 25, 2005 2:02 PM

Jimmie Edmundson was presented the Cornerstone Award, the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce's highest award, on Monday night.

Hundreds of people attended the chamber's annual banquet, held at Lane Tree Golf Club, and saw outgoing chairman Tony Worrell pass the gavel to Henry Smith. The chamber also honored several people for volunteer efforts during 2004.

Many of Edmundson's friends and family members came to see him receive the surprise honor. Chamber personnel hid those folks at a back table, away from Edmundson.

Afterward, Edmundson said that he should have been suspicious.

"I was at the table that got to eat first. That never happens," he said jokingly.

The Cornerstone Award was created in 1996 to pay homage to an individual for a life of commitment and service to Wayne County, and Edmundson, a senior vice president with BB&T, certainly has the resume.

A video shown during the ceremony detailed his leadership positions, among others, on the boards of the chamber, the Jaycees, Wayne Community College, the United Way, the Salvation Army, the Wayne County Economic Development Commission and in his church, St. Luke United Methodist Church.

But he may be best known for his work with Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and the Seymour Support Council.

Brig. Gen. Rick Rosborg, former commander of the 4th Fighter Wing and now stationed at the Pentagon, called the award "a tremendous honor for Jimmie and one that's obviously greatly deserved."

Rosborg said that no community supports its base better than Seymour receives, and much of that can be attributed to Edmundson's work.

"It was a great experience to walk arm in arm with one of the great leaders, a person of great community spirit, and one who gives more than he gets," Rosborg said. "He was there with us in triumph and he was there with us in tragedy.

"He was always there."

Col. James Holmes, the current wing commander, said that he has quickly learned the importance of both Jimmie and his wife, Donna.

"I've been amazed at the level of support that makes it down to our airmen, and I think that Jimmie and Donna symbolize that support," Holmes said.

Edmundson was inspired to public service by his mother and continues to enjoy it, he said. "There are many thing that make you want to contribute. There are friendships. It's seeing something you can add, something that needs to be done."

He has been fortunate to work for BB&T, which has allowed him the opportunity to be so involved, he said.

"This is a wonderful honor," he said. "To join that list of past winners, it means more to me than you will ever know."

The night ended Tony Worrell's two-year tenure atop the chamber board. He had been set to step aside last January but agreed to stay on after the death of Frank Tillman, who had been chosen incoming chairman.

Worrell, of Wayco Hams, said that 2004 had been "a year of beginnings" for the chamber.

It was Steve Hicks' first full year as executive director, Worrell noted. "Steve certainly hit the ground running."

The chamber began a series of "hometown visits," during which chamber officials visited members. It also held its first reverse drawing, which was a successful fund-raiser for the organization.

The chamber will hold its first cruise later this month, and plans are under way for a second this fall.

Worrell turned over the chairmanship to local lawyer Henry Smith, who in turn gave Worrell a plaque for his service as chairman.

Several other awards were also presented.

The honorees were Glenn Rains, Goldsboro News-Argus, Rookie Ambassador of the Year; Betsy Rosemann, Hampton Inn, Ambassador of the Year; Horace Best, Massengill Best & Markham PLLC, Outgoing Director; Sally Worrell, Wayco Ham, Volunteer of the Year; Jim McKay, PACC-10, the Excellence in Communications Award; and Dave Quick, the Chairman's Award.