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By SHARON GRAVES
The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce racked up some major dough for scholarships and honored individuals and groups at its annual banquet.
The gala Thursday night at General Butler State Resort Park Conference Center drew local government officials and representatives from local businesses and industries.
David Hendren and Rick Whitfill were awarded the chamber’s Beautification Award for the General J.T. Ellis Banquet Hall. The Ghent residents remodeled what once was the old Ghent Methodist Church, turning a crumbling building into a beautiful hall available for weddings, receptions, parties and business meetings.
The hall was named in honor of James Tandy Ellis, whose home, The Poet’s House, Hendren and Whitfill own and occupy.
“This was a labor of love,” Hendren said.
Other businesses considered for the award were the Carroll County Health Center, and the Holiday Inn, Best Western and Hampton Inn, all owned by Lloyd Abadoo.
The Carroll County Community Impact Award was given to Carroll County Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and the hospital’s staff and employees.
Accepting the award for the group were Chief Executive Officer Kanute Rarey, Board Chairman Jean Pyles, and Mabel Burkhardt, who has worked at the hospital for 42 years.
“We would like to thank everyone for the support of the community,” Rarey said. “When you need us, we’ll be there. In the meantime, we’ll see you in the grocery store.”
Other nominees were the Carrollton National Guard Unit, the Family Worship Center and BeeHive Homes.
Charlie Webster took top honors, receiving the Raymond Ray Community Service Award. Webster, former owner of Webster Drugs, has devoted more than five decades of his life to serving the county. He is a former Carrollton mayor and has served on numerous boards and commissions. He also did color and play-by-play for the high school sports radio.
Webster was instrumental in helping Carrollton Utilities obtain $1.5 million for the $11 million regional wastewater treatment plant.
“Carrollton Utilities is a $100 million organization.” Webster said. “They are great people and they take care of five counties with nine cities. Bill Osborne is a magician to be able to get along with that many politicians.”
Others in the running for the award were Dennis Raisor, Lonnie Sundermeyer, Beth Toombs and Scott Niswonger.
The Business Hall of Fame had two contenders: First National Bank of Carrollton, which was inducted, and the also-nominated General Butler State Resort Park.
FNB was organized 125 years ago and has had five presidents, two of which were at the banquet – Malcolm Carraco, who retired Dec. 31, and current president, Greg Goff. FNB has $75 million in assets; its main location is still downtown at 604 Highland, and its branch is at 2639 Hwy. 227.
Greg Goff and assistant branch manger Rita Power accepted the award.
Gift baskets and gift certificates for various goods and services were offered during the silent auction, held before and during the banquet. The auction raised $2,600 for the chamber’s scholarship fund.
Mentalist Keith Metheny wowed the crowd, identifying every guest by first name after spending a little over an hour observing everyone before the banquet.
“I’m a big believer that you can create the results you want,” Metheny said before one of his amazing demonstrations.
Metheny had three things he suggested the crowd remember: Every day above ground is a good day; even your darkest hour only gets 60 minutes; and your worst day is only 24 hours long.