The Christian County Chamber of Commerce annual meeting followed the trend and went virtual this year.
Chamber President Kelli Pendleton hosted the 132nd awards show, announcing presenters and thanking board members, staff and volunteers in the six-minute video posted to YouTube.
“We’re sorry we can’t be with you; we wish we could all be together, but unfortunately that’s not possible this year,” she said standing alone inside The Studio 3s event center in downtown Hopkinsville. “It’s not going to stop us from giving out some awards and recognizing some amazing people who have supported us throughout the year.”
Pendleton thanked outgoing board chair Melissa Spurr for her service over the past year, who said it’s been a pleasure to serve.
“This year has been incredibly difficult on our local businesses both big and small,” Spurr said. “... We know these are uncertain times, but we will get through this, we will rebuild and we will come back together in person stronger than ever. Please know that the chamber is here for you to navigate through this new normal.”
Spurr passed the gavel to the next chamber board chair Greg Moore, chief financial officer of Jennie Stuart Health.
Director of membership and fundraising Robin Tabor announced the Bob Kelso Ambassador of the Year Award, which went to Angie Gibbs.
“It’s been a real delight walking hand in hand with the chamber these past 12 months,” said Gibbs, who is co-owner of The Studio 3s. “I’ve enjoyed every ribbon cutting that I’ve gone to, all the people that I met, and the business encouragement has been so much fun, and I look forward to more next year.”
HYPE President Tyler Young announced the 2019-2020 Young Professional of the Year, Dustin Gilbert.
“It’s an honor to be nominated amongst a group of inspiring young professionals,” Gilbert said. “I’m humbled to accept this award and I look forward to working with you all as we make Hopkinsville a better place.”
Pendleton presented the president’s award to her mentor and longtime military affairs volunteer Chuck Henderson and recognized outgoing board member and youth leadership program co-coordinator Ruth Lynch.
“I am saddened to leave such a dedicated group of individuals, many whom I now call my friends,” Lynch said. “I am thankful for the journey and I wish the chamber well as it continues to provide initiatives directed at championing a better community.”
Before ending the video, Pendleton used her platform to share her stance on national issues.
“This year has been like no other and challenged us all,” Pendleton said. “A global pandemic killed half a million people and forced us into isolation. And, if that wasn’t enough, we faced a different type of adversity but one we’re all too familiar with.
“We need to learn to respect each other’s differences, to learn from each other’s perspectives and to appreciate diversity,” she continued. “Life is a beautiful gift. Let’s be kind to one another.”