Marion County Chamber of Commerce Awards Area Volunteers

Page 1 HERO Mark McKay proposes a toast to all the nominees and winners
Mark McKay proposes a toast to all the nominees and winners of last Saturday night’s Inaugural Golden Nail Gala Awards.  

From Staff Reports

The Inaugural Golden Nail Gala celebrating volunteerism was held Saturday evening at the Excelsior House Hotel.  The Marion County Chamber of Commerce hosted the event that drew civic and community leaders from Jefferson and Marion County.

Mark McKay, president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the attendees to the semi-formal event and Bill Gleason served as master of ceremony.

Six categories of awards made up the evening with winners being recognized both volunteer time and financial contributions.

Brooklyn Bradley-LaFleur and William Ramsey were nominated for Dickson Distinguished Up and Coming Volunteer (45 years or younger, based on volunteer time, not financial contributions).  Ramsey, Founder of Citizens for a Better Community was selected for the award based on his efforts in Lions Park, blood drives & church mission work.

The Jimplecute Individual Benefactor award had four nominees:  Shirley Partridge, Dr. Michelle Otstott, Mary Keasler, and Jimmy More.  Otstott, who holds a Ph.D. in Library Science, was selected for the award based on her service as Director of the Jefferson Carnegie Library.  Her library is accredited by the state of Texas and she has sponsored and championed countless programs such as American Girl Book Club, PK Story Time, and Breakfast with Rudolph.

Dr. Jeffrey Taylor, Barbara Hampton, and Shirley Partridge were nominated for the Marion County Distinguished Volunteer Non-Secular Award.  The recognition, not based on financial contributions, went to Partridge who was instrumental in starting Blessings of Grace Food Pantry ten years ago. She currently spearheads the Creating Opportunities in Marion County providing numerous classes and activities to those in need.

The McKay Foundation Benefactor Award had two nominees: The Schulter Foundation and the Opera House Theatre Players. The Schulter Foundation won the award based on grants bestowed upon various non-profit organizations in Jefferson including the Excelsior House Hotel, Jefferson Carnegie Library, Historic Foundation and the Historical Society Museum.

Wayman Moore, Tammy Doriot, Mary Keasler, Stacy Mills, and Preston Taylor were nominated for the Norbord Distinguished Volunteer Secular Award.  Preston Taylor, past president of the Jefferson Lions Club, was given the honor in recognition of his service on Jefferson Tourism Board and Friends of Carnegie Library Board.  He currently produces the Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards and puts in long hours year-round to make this event successful.

Jefferson Rotary Club, the Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club, and the Schluter Foundation were nominees for the Otstott Distinguished Organization Award based on volunteerism. The Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club, established in 1939, to preserve the beauty of Jefferson was given the award. The club’s goals today remain the same, but have expanded to include preservation of historic landmarks in Jefferson & Marion County including planning of the annual Pilgrimage.

Bear Creek Smokehouse catered the meal and Sammy Testa, owner of Sammy’s Primetime, provided an unending flow of cocktails for the evening.

“The evening exceeded our expectations and we are so grateful for the support of all of the volunteers, organizations, and sponsors of tonight’s awards for making this special event happen,” said Kari Alexander, Executive Director of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce.

The dinner and awards ceremony are anticipated to grow in coming years based on the generous and altruistic spirit of individuals and organizations here in Jefferson.

The name of the event is based on the Benjamin Franklin quote, “For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, For the want of a shoe the horse was lost, For the want of a horse the rider was lost, For the want of a rider the battle was lost, For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost, And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”


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