Chamber honors businesses, volunteers
ELKINS — The Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce presented nine major awards during “A Magical Evening” with its Annual Dinner & Awards event Monday at the Phil Gainer Community Center.
Steve Herron, publisher of The Inter-Mountain, presented the Business of the Year award.
“The 2019 Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year recipient has been a member and supporter of this Chamber for decades,” Herron said. “The late founder of this year’s award winner was an avid supporter of the chamber for many years, having served four terms as Chamber President. The three second-generation owners of tonight’s Business of the Year have maintained that same level of community commitment instilled upon them by their parents.
|This Year’s Business of the Year began serving our community in October 1968 and recently celebrated their 50th anniversary of service to Elkins and Randolph County. This family business and it’s committed staff, work diligently each and every day to fulfill it’s vision of meeting the needs of an ever-changing society while maintaining the highest standards of service, compassion, care and respect for those that they serve.
“My friends, your friends and a friend to all, ladies and gentlemen, please assist me in recognizing Mark and Phil Tomblyn, Lisa Tomblyn Preusch, Dinah and Alex Tomblyn and staff of the Tomblyn Funeral Home as the 2019 Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year,” Herron said.
Nathaniel Bonnell of Citizens Bank of West Virginia presented the Citizen of the Year award to Pat Schoonover.
“This evening we have an opportunity to recognize a retired Randolph County teacher, a community leader, a mentor, a volunteer, a wife, a grandmother, and friend,” Bonnell said.
“Always a teacher at heart, this award recipient serves as treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Literacy Volunteers of Randolph County. She remains a strong advocate for better education and believes all students need science, technology, engineering, art and math in a well-rounded curriculum.
“This Citizen of the Year serves as Chair of the Service Projects Committee for Rotary Club of Elkins; she is president of ArtsBank, and serves on the Board of Directors of Mountain Arts District. In 2018, she was a member of the Youth Health Service Board of Directors,” he said.
The Non-Profit of the Year award was presented to the St. Patrick’s Women and Men of Coalton.
“A longstanding tradition of food and fellowship earns this organization the non-profit of the year award,” said presenter Tom Dennison of the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad.
“In 2018, this organization made over 14,000 meatballs, cooked over one ton of pasta and raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities.
“Thousands of individuals attend charitable events each year to dine on plates full of spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and meatballs or meatball hoagies prepared by several volunteers of this church. They roll meatballs for days and haul pans for miles to raise money for the Randolph County Humane Society, United Way of Randolph County, the Randolph/Tucker Child Advocacy Center, and C.A.M.P. Don Bosco. In 2018, they also held a fundraiser for a child needing a service dog in addition to the two spaghetti dinners they host at their church each year which attracts hundreds of people.”
The Young Leader of the Year award was presented to Taira Gainer Landavere, director of marketing for the Elkins Depot Welcome Center.
“It is so inspiring to see a dedicated young individual working so hard to build a brighter future for all of us,” said presenter Sue Pifer of the Elkins Sewing Center. “Our Young Leader of the Year has reshaped the branding of tourism marketing for Randolph County working in collaboration with the surrounding CVBs to enhance the promotion of music, arts, heritage, outdoor recreation and tourism in Randolph County.
“She has also created and maintains a website for the Elkins-Randolph County Tourism CVB that captures the natural paradise and unprecedented beauty that we in Randolph County call home. Under her direction, the Elkins-Randolph County Tourism CVB received the 2018 West Virginia Governor’s Service Award and the 2018 Governor Award for Regional Cooperation.”
The Educator of the Year award was presented to Leslie Louk.
“Our award recipient began her employment with Randolph County Schools in 1979 at Pickens High School,” said presenter Jim Jackson of Elkins Auto. “The following year she transferred to North Elementary School where you’ll still find her today in a first-grade classroom.
“This Educator of the Year has served on the school’s technology team, five-year planning team, PTO and Advisory Committee, and Randolph County Reading Council and Report Card Committee. In addition, she has been a Lightspan Computer Software Presenter at the local, state and national level … (and) is going to retire in June after 40 years of service to Randolph County Schools.”
The Chamber Member of the Year award was presented to board member Wendy Morgan. The award was presented by Mike Bell, the 2018 president of the Chamber of Commerce.
Morgan has served as the Director of Alumni Engagement and Support for Davis & Elkins College since 2013. She is the events chair for the Chamber, and volunteers for the Elkins Church of the Nazarene and the Pickens Maple Syrup Festival.
The Business Man of the Year award was presented to Hugh Hitchcock of Davis Trust Company.
“A magna cum laude graduate of WVU, our award recipient began his professional career in West Virginia in 1980 with Monongahela Power Company, where he worked for almost two decades,” said presenter Denise Campbell of Dominon Energy.
“He started the second half of his career when he transtitioned to community banking with Davis Trust Company in 1999 as a special projects manager. He served in that capacity until being promoted to assistant CEO and assistant secretary in 2001. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Davis Trust Company in 2006 and promoted to executive vice president and secretary in 2011. He became the eighth president of the bank on Jan. 1, 2018.”
The Business Woman of the Year award was presented to Jodie Parrack of State Farm Insurance.
“Jodie Parrack, Elkins State Farm Agent, opened her scratch agency in July 2014, as an exclusive agent and registered representative …,” Hitchcock said in presenting the award. “Prior to joining State Farm, Jodie has spent more than 24 years serving clients in Randolph and surrounding counties and has a long history and extensive background working with policyholders to develop the best insurance portfolio to meet their daily needs and long term plans …
” Currently she is an active volunteer and member of the Board of Directors of the Committee on Aging for Randolph County and the Randolph County Community Arts Center. She is an active supporter of the Mountain State Forest Festival, previously serving as an Assistant to the Queens Department, a member of the Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, GFWC Woman’s Club of Elkins, Mountaineer Chapter of Izaak Walton League of America and Landmark Baptist Church.”
The Tom Williams Award of Distinction was presented to longtime local businessman and community volunteer Bob Wamsley.
“Our award recipient is a role model for all business people and citizens of Randolph County. In 1961 he started Colonial Court,” said presenter Mark Doak, the 2019 president of the Chamber of Commerce. Twenty-one years later he established Colonial Motors, and then purchased Wamsley’s Service Center in 1998. Today it still employs 12 people who together total 203 years of service at Colonial Court and Colonial Motors.
“Our honoree’s commitment to his community is exemplary. He served as Director General of the 1991 Mountain State Forest Festival and is a current member of the festival’s board of directors. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church and past president of the Methodist Men.
“This individual has been very generous in giving back to the community,” Doak said. “He is an annual supporter of Davis & Elkins College, United Way of Randolph County, The Arts Center, WVU Foundation, and WVU Band Travel Fund. He is a member of the Wheels Club at WVU where is has been a season ticket holder for 45 years.”