The Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce held its annual dinner and award ceremony Monday evening at the Jekyll Island Convention Center. During the event, a number of chamber leaders were honored for their service to the community.
Connie Patrick received top honors, walking away with the highly-coveted Alfred W. Jones Sr. award. The soon-to-retire director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers was honored for her service. The award was presented by Donna Gowen Poe, immediate past chairman of the chamber.
After a teaser, referring to the recipient as a “he,” she dropped the ruse, noting that it was a woman who won.
“Our recipient is the 39th recipient ... and has been a resident of Glynn County for over 20 years. She and her husband have raised a family here and have been engaged in our community in a variety of ways,” Poe said.
She went on to list a number of several of the ways that Patrick has given back to the community over her tenure, including contributing to CASA, advancing education and collecting food for those in need.
“This is a very special friend, who has really served in too many capacities to name tonight,” Poe said. “Over 1 million students have trained under her leadership. She is a leader, a wife, a mother of four and grandmother of three. And, like me, she is also an ‘angel mom,’ having lost her precious son four years ago. Our recipient has managed all of these roles thanks to her faith in God.”
Patrick took to the podium, wiping away tears. After embracing Poe, she made a short acceptance speech, noting she is anxious to volunteer after her official retirement.
“She got me on the angel mom,” Patrick said. “This has been the best community to serve. I wish you continued success in the future. Thank you very much.”
Prior to the Alfred W. Jones Sr. Award, other awards were presented to a number of members. Donna Gowen Poe received the Chairman’s Award from Bob Miller for her service in the position over the course of the year.
“The honoree always volunteers to lead the way to a solution which is fair and just,” Miller said of Poe.
“I wasn’t expecting this, as I’m a ‘has been’ in the chamber,” Poe said. “We had some tough things we had to deal with, grab the bull by the horns and do what you have to do. I’m not afraid of very much as you know.”
Beth Lane, of the Island Directory, took the Ambassador of the Year Award, presented by Jeff Bennett, vice chairman of membership and retention and recruitment.
Jane Lafferty, retired from King & Prince Seafood, walked away with the Volunteer of the Year Award, which was presented by Virginia Brown, president and CEO of the United Way of Coastal Georgia.
Millard Allen, vice chair of commercial affairs for the chamber, honored three small business awards. The first went to Johnny Wynn and Robert Solomon, co-owners of the AC Guys. They took the Small Business of the Year Award.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award was presented to Jared DiVincent of Social Compass, while James Poe, of SunCoast Paper & Chemical, was honored with the Community Champion Award.
In addition to the awards, the chairman’s gavel was officially passed from Bob Miller to Missy Neu of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper Real Estate.
“Most of you know that I love a goal so you might think I’m going to talk about increasing membership or raising money at an event. But what I envision success to look like might be harder to measure than some goals. I think it will be very clear when we get there,” Neu said.
“I want your businesses to flourish. I also want you to take great pride in how important businesses are to everyone who is blessed to call the Golden Isles home.”