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Chamber bestows honors on individuals

Held in January to symbolize new beginnings, the 81st Annual Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet marked Tuesday as the first day of incoming president Wem Mellown’s tenure.

Retrospective appreciation was also provided by the chamber for recipients of awards for services provided in 2003.

Outgoing Chamber President Patricia Blanton first announced the elementary and secondary school Teachers of the Year - Jennifer Luckey and Bettina Shiver, respectively.

The Student of the Year was awarded to Andalusia High School senior Johnny Croft. Croft said he plans on attending either Birmingham-Southern or Huntingdon College where he will pursue a major in chemistry and a minor in religious studies.

The Outstanding Community Service Award, which was kept secret prior to the banquet, was awarded to Martha Carter.

Blanton said Carter liked to dream.

"You can see her dream if you ride by the Seegers Street location of the beautiful Bright Beginnings Preschool and Family Life Center," said Blanton.

The recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, also kept secret, was Covington Electric Cooperative CEO Ed Short.

"Be it any meeting concerning the community's economic, social or civic interests you will find (Carter) there and, in at least 80 percent of the meetings, in a leadership role," Blanton said. "This person practically knows everyone in Covington County."

Blanton chose Dr. Charles Tomberlin as the recipient of the President's Award.

"This year's President's Award not only meets the criteria, but stretches it over a 28-year span," Blanton said.

Blanton not only chose him for his work as a radiologist, but also for his determination in the promotion of the World Championship Domino Tournament in Andalusia.

"His name, Andalusia, and the World Championship Domino Tournament became the same," Blanton said. "He left an indelible footprint on Andalusia, and after 28 years, the legacy lives on."

Blanton passed the gavel to Mellown,who then presented his first a speech as new chamber president.

Mellown said it is the people of Andalusia that make the town great, and that he looks forward to continuing the progress made by the Chamber and Andalusia.