Chamber recognizes 2012 winners
by DAVID ATCHISON
In the photo are, from left, John Maddox with Chick-fil-A, Sharon Smith with Lakeside Hospice, Debra Dyer owner of Celebrations, Stephanie Hill Alexander with HMA, Evan Ray, president of rural hospitals for St. Vincent’s Health System, Randy Mason the 2012 Citizen of the Year, Erica Grieve, executive director for the Pell City Chamber of Commerce, and Eddie Gilreath, president of the Pell City Chamber of Commerce.
PELL CITY – What does Celebrations, St. Vincent’s St. Clair, Chick-fil-A, Honda of Alabama, Lakeside Hospice and Randy Mason all have in common?

They were the top winners at this year’s Pell City Greater Chamber of Commerce Celebrating Success Masquerade Ball.

Mason was this year’s Citizen of the Year winner. Mason is currently the president-elect for the Chamber of Commerce, and he has also served as past president for the Civitans and the ARC, and is an advocate for people with disabilities on both the state and local level.

“I was surprised and honored to be even mentioned in the company of the other people named for the award,” Mason said, adding that he thought there are more deserving people, “but this is truly an honor for me.”

In other categories at Thursday night’s Celebration banquet, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama was the recipient of the 2012 Industry of the Year award.

“On behalf of the more than 4,000 associates we’re honored and pleased to be named the Industry of the Year for the Pell City Chamber of Commerce,” said HMA spokeswoman Stephanie Hill Alexander. “We thank our community and our associates.”

HMA employs more than 4,000 Alabama associates at its engine and vehicle assembly plant in Lincoln. HMA investment in Alabama by 2013 will total more than $2 billion.

The company has donated more than $6.8 million to organizations in the local community, and provided more than 6,000 associates volunteering more 100,000 hours in the community.

St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital captured the Large Business of the Year honors, while Celebrations was awarded the Small Business of the Year award.

Evan Ray, president of Rural Hospitals for St. Vincent’s Health System, said he was grateful to the team of doctors and associates, and the community partnerships with the St. Clair County Economic Development Council, St. Clair County Health Care Authority, the St. Clair County Commission, Pell City and the St. Vincent’s Health System for making this possible.

St. Clair Hospital has donated time and money to a wide range of non-profit organizations in the Pell City and surrounding areas, including ACS Relay for Life, ARC of St. Clair County, Imagination Library and the Christian Love Pantry, as well as various schools and other local charities.

SVSCH also opened a new hospital in Pell City Dec. 10, 2011, and by the end of June, the number of patients treated through the hospital’s many services has doubled from the previous year. SVSC employs 225 people.

Celebrations, the small business winner, is a family owned business that has been in operation in Pell City since 2000. Celebrations has made numerous charitable contributions to organizations such as to the Pell City Civitans, Relay for Life, Pell City schools and local churches and others.

“I am just very honored to have this award,” said Debra Dyer, owner of Celebrations. “Glenn (her late husband who died of cancer) would have been so proud.”

In two new categories, Lakeside Hospice was the winner of the Non-Profit/Civic Group of the Year, and Chick-fil-A moved into the top spot for the New Business of the Year award.

Chick-fil-A only opened its doors in Pell City in November 2011. Heath Kyle is the operator and owner of Chick-fil-A in Pell City.

“We are privileged to serve such a great community like Pell City,” said John Maddox with Chick-fil-A.

Lakeside Hospice is well known in St. Clair County and Pell City for providing hospice care for more than 21 years. Lakeside Hospice is a faith-based, non-profit organization. It participates in a variety of community fund-raising events and helps people in need. Lakeside Hospice even provides free grief counseling to the young and old.

“It’s wonderful to work for a company owned by the community,” said Sharon Smith with Lakeside Hospice. “We couldn’t do this without the community support and the support of the churches.”

At Thursday night’s banquet, Chamber of Commerce President Eddie Gilreath welcomed guests, and Chamber Executive Director Erica Grieve was presided over the ceremony.

The Rev. Paul Lett of Harvest Center Church of God provided the invocation, and City Manager Patrick Draper led guests in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Rev. Jackie Connell, pastor of Eden Westside Baptist Church, was the guest speaker at the Celebrating Success Masquerade Ball, which was held at Celebrations.

© 2012