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Chamber made good choices

The Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce made an excellent choice when it named Richard Robertson as the recipient of this year’s distinguished service award.

The man known mostly as “Coach” in Andalusia has been a part of education and athletics in the city for 45 years. During that time, he has compiled a 661-308 record as head basketball coach.

He’s taken his Bulldogs to the state tournament 12 times, and brought home the trophy in 1996. He’s been honored by local civic organizations and by state athletic associations for his contributions to the sport.

But in presenting the award, Andalusia Regional Hospital CEO Mark Dooley said what has set Robertson apart is his genuine concern for his student-athletes.

“You can find very few people in this area who do not have a story about how Coach Rob has influenced their lives,” Dooley said. “He has undoubtedly impacted the lives of literally thousands of youth in the Andalusia area, and many would tell you that they would not be on the life path they are on without the direction of Coach Robertson.”

He pushes his athletes hard and sets the bar high for performance. And he teaches them always to be striving to do better.

And he shares that message not only on the basketball court, but also in the summer camp he’s run for years at the Will Coleman Center. Surely, we’d all be better workers and citizens with “Coach” encouraging us daily.

The recipient of the president’s award, selected by outgoing president Joey Langley, went to Bill Pritchett, pastor of Southside Baptist Church.

His involvement in the local community, as well as his cooperation in making the church’s family life center available to the chamber, civic organizations and evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, were cited among the ways he has positively affected the community.

Congratulations to each of these gentlemen.