Last week the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce held their annual meeting for the first time in two years. The event was held on February 10th and as expected, the event showcased the businesses and volunteers that are among the best in Laurens County.
The event was held on the campus of Presbyterian College. SC House Representative Mark Willis served as the Master of Ceremony and PC President, Matt vandenBerg, welcomed the capacity crowd.
In her remarks, Laurens County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Amanda Munyan said, “I am so grateful for such a successful event, highlighting the work of our Chamber of Commerce, and so many amazing organizations, businesses, and individuals across Laurens County.”
People in Laurens County are passionate about the future of the County. This passion is evident in the work they do and the results that come from their efforts. The Chamber works to harness that passion and maximize the efforts.
The annual meeting was a night to celebrate these efforts.
Munyan addressed those attending and remarked that the chamber staff works hard juggling initiatives, projects, and events on a daily basis. She specifically thanked her team which includes Marlene Owings, Graysen Martin, and Courtney Stonell.
In addition to the staff at the Laurens County Chamber there is a Board of Directors which includes twenty-one individuals representing Laurens County and the municipalities, businesses, large and small, and various important areas impacting the Chamber’s work. “Each volunteer board member is a staple to our organization, and you all are appreciated.” Said Munyan.
Members of the Laurens County Chamber Board include:
- Michael Seymour current Board Chair
- Ernie Segars Past Chair
- Jacki Berkshire Chair Elect
- Brenda Schrantz Treasurer
- Bud Marchant Member at Large
- Amber Laney
- Ameca Thomas
- Blake Davis
- Byron Smith
- Chad Armstrong
- Chrissie Latimore
- Jason Tavenner
- Jeff Field
- Jonathan Coleman
- Josh Black
- Kimberly Kitchens
- Kristy Gambrell
- Marilyn Easter
- Matthew Firmin
- Sharon O’Bryant
- Thomas Higgs
Munyan acknowledged that 2021 (and 2020) brought challenges to their work of promoting Laurens County but their efforts and creativity are paying off. She announced that the Laurens County Chamber is officially one of 32 accredited chambers across the Carolinas. This accreditation comes after extensive reporting and evaluating.
In 2021 the Laurens County Chamber amped up their message of shop local and encouraged residents to “Shop Small and Think Local” when making decisions on shopping, dining, volunteering, and giving, in efforts to support local businesses and activities. Munyan also noted that, as a staff, they supported the UWLC Bags of Love, School Supply Drives, Hospice of Laurens County through the Annual Flight of the Dove, Christmas for local children initiatives, and celebrated the opening of the Laurens County Museum over New Years. They also celebrated National Ag Day, Small Business Day, Shop Small Day, and National Radio Day.
One of the biggest highlights of 2021 was the kickoff to Laurens County’s collaborative effort to crack down on litter. The Laurens County Chamber was honored with the PalmettoPride 2021 Leaders Against Litter Award, presented to Laurens County Council.
The culmination of the event is the recognition of the selfless community volunteers that make a difference in our communities. Below is a list of some of the local heroes.
Officers of the Year (as voted on by their peers)
- Deputy Jimmy Johnson, Laurens County Sheriff’s Office
- Lieutenant Stephen Lawton , Clinton Police Department
- Sergeant Olga Baza , City of Laurens Police Department
District Teacher of the Year
- Lindsey Dawkins, District 55
- Kolman McMurphy, District 56
Cecil Davenport Award – Julia Elizabeth Kennedy of Laurens District 55 High School
Duke Award – Ms. Shirley Clark
John P. Faris Volunteer of the Year – American Legion Post 25 as our Volunteer of the Year
Keep Laurens County Beautiful Community Partner – Clinton Canopy
Ambassador of the Year – Mrs. Amber Graydon.
Small Biz of the Year – Jim Firmin of Firmin Ford
Spirit of the Chamber – Dianne Wyatt
Great things are happening in Laurens County and the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting is an opportunity to showcase the work of community volunteers and their work to promote Laurens County.
We look forward to the next meeting. More awards recognizing the efforts of people who care and are truly making a difference.
Enjoy the photos in the gallery below for glimpse into the event.