Concordia Chamber honors top residents, businessPublished 12:01am Friday, January 17, 2014
VIDALIA — The business community of Concordia Parish gathered Thursday to raise their glasses in honor of Dr. Ron Gregg and Rena Pitts.
Gregg was named Male Concoridan of the Year at the Concordia Parish Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards dinner, while Pitts was given the trophy as Female Concordian of the Year.
When Chamber President Ouida Pecanty announced Pitts’ selection, she noted the parish doesn’t have many civic organizations of which Pitts isn’t a part.
Pitts is the director of the Concordia Christmas Charity Fund, the former chair of the Ferriday Christmas parade, involved with the Ferriday Garden and Rotary clubs, the past president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Louisiana, the past president of the Community Service Club, a volunteer with the Chamber, a farmer and a businesswoman, among other things.
Pitts was also the Chamber’s 2011 Volunteer of the Year.
“I have to tell you, this past year, when she gave me a hug and told me she was proud of me, it brought me to tears, because if I have made her proud, I must have done something,” Pecanty said.
“Because Rena Pitts is something for all of Concordia Parish, she is our Female Concordian of the Year.”
When Pitts accepted the award, Pitts said she was honored, but deferred some of that honor to those in attendance.
“Look around,” Pitts said. “Everyone here is a great volunteer, everyone is a great promoter of Concordia Parish, and I am honored to win this award.”
Gregg has been a surgeon at Riverland Medical Center for more than 30 years, and while he is noteworthy for his dedication to the area’s medical needs, he should also be lauded for the time he spent involved in local school life when his sons were growing up and his teaching them to love Concordia Parish, Pecanty said.
“Dr. Gregg has performed surgery on a member of almost every family in the parish,” she said. “He has set the bar high for future Concordians of the Year.”
When he accepted his award, Gregg joked with the crowd about how he wasn’t going to give a long speech even if it was expected of him, but was also visibly moved by the honor.
“Most of you know that everything I have done in Concordia Parish for the last 40 years is because it is what I love to do, and I can’t thank you enough,” he said.
The Chamber also honored Donna Maroon as Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Ferriday Rotary Club, the Lake St. John Committee, the Experimental Aircraft Association of Concordia Parish, the Concordia Parish Airport Authority and the Concordia Christmas Fund, among other things.
Maroon said she appreciated the award, and thanked her family and friends for supporting her.
Concordia Metal was honored as Business of the Year.
“They have been instrumental in bringing recycling to Concordia Parish, and they deserve Business of the Year for their forward thinking and environmental efforts, Pecanty said.
The evening also included a presentation from Vidalia resident Corine Randazzo, Concordia Economic Development Director Heather Malone and Vidalia Port Director Wyly Gilfoil about the history of Vidalia’s devlopment along the river and its future prospects.
Gilfoil — who is also director of the port in Lake Providence — said he expects the addition of a port to Vidalia will be a great benefit.
“The Lake Providence port was begun in 1958, and we now have a total assets of $30 million and annual revenues of $1 million,” he said. “I think in five years, Vidalia will equal or better that — I am staking my reputation on it.”
Amid the celebration, the evening also included a sober moment as the Chamber president noted the announcement last week of the coming layoff of 150 workers at Vidalia Apparel.
But Pecanty said the Chamber will be working with Concordia Economic Development in whatever capacity necessary to provide assistance as it is needed to respond to the news.
“In our parish and the Miss-Lou community, we really shine in bad times because we come together, and together we can get it done,” she said.