Parish chamber hosting annual awards dinner

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, January 27, 2015

NATCHEZ Concordia Parish business and community leaders will gather Thursday to celebrate a successful year and honor those who have served the community.

The Concordia Parish Chamber of Commerce will host its annual awards dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center.

This year’s theme is “Sportsman’s Paradise.”

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Chamber Executive Director Jamie Wiley said she looks forward to seeing business and community organization leaders gathered together to celebrate the accomplishments of the previous year.

“It’s really exciting for me because we get to look at 2014 and see what the businesses have accomplished, as well as what the chamber organization has done,” Wiley said. “I think it’s a great event.”

This year’s guest speaker will be Don Watts, who is vice president of distribution for Fruit of the Loom.

Watts oversees distribution for Fruit of the Loom throughout Canada and Mexico, as well as U.S. locations including the Vidalia operation, Bowling Green, Ky., and Monroeville, Ala.

Wiley said having Watts as the event’s speaker came as a suggestion from Concordia Economic Development Director Heather Malone.

“Heather heard a little bit about him and the work he does, and thought it would be interesting to have someone from the larger Vidalia industries to come and talk to everyone,” Wiley said. “He’s been working for Fruit of the Loom for 32 years.”

Five awards will be presented after the speakers’ presentations: volunteer of the year, male Concordian of the year, female Concordian of the year, educator of the year and business of the year.

The educator of the year category is a new one this year, Wiley said, after event organizers wanted a way to separate schoolteachers and faculty from those in the business community.

“The problem in previous years is getting nominations for the schools when the schools are a separate entity from the business world, so we got together and decided that we needed to have those nominations separate,” Wiley said. “What we did was call (Concordia Parish Superintendent) Paul Nelson and asked him to call each principal to submit one nomination from each school.”

Individual tickets to the dinner are $70 and tickets for a couple are $125.

The Saint Joseph Arts Big Band group, The Jazzers, will provide musical entertainment.

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served from 6 to 6:45 p.m.

Dinner will follow at 7 p.m.

A silent and live auction will feature various items including a trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., electronics and other items.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 318-282-0620.