Laurens County Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner – Reflecting on 2022 and Looking Ahead

February 13, 2023

The Laurens County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner was held on February 9th at Presbyterian College.

The event was an opportunity to reflect on 44 years of service, celebrate county achievements in 2022 and to present awards to those contributing to the overall success. The event was emceed by Representative Mark Willis with Laurens County Chamber of Commerce president/CEO, Amanda Munyan, providing keynote remarks before the award presentations.

Presentation of the colors was provided by the Presbyterian College ROTC Color Guard and the National Anthem was sung by Miss La’Nayah Stewart & Mr. Hunter Hostetler.

In her remarks, Munyan acknowledged her talented team and supportive board for the work they do as she reflected on a busy 2022.

“We have amazing leadership across Laurens County today,” said Munyan. “We have people in positions that are passionate about the future of the County as a whole and working really well together to accomplish many successes.”

In addition to Munyan, the Chamber team includes:

  • Marlene Owings
  • Graysen Martin
  • Courtney Stonell
  • Christian Taylor
  • Cora Lewis

The Chamber Board is made up of twenty individuals representing Laurens County and the municipalities, businesses, both large and small, and various important areas impacting the Chamber’s work.

Members of the board include:  Dr. Brenda Schrantz current Board Chair, Michael Seymour Past Chair, Dr. Bud Marchant Chair Elect, Sharon O’Bryant Treasurer, Josh Black Member at Large, Dr. Amber Laney, Dr. Ameca Thomas, Blake Davis, Byron Smith, Chad Armstrong, Eric Delgado, Jason Tavenner, Jeff Field, Jerre Threatt, Jonathan Coleman, Kristy Gambrell, Marilyn Easter, Matthew Firmin, Thomas Higgs, and Tom Brooks.

According to Munyan, 2022 was a very busy and productive year for the Chamber and for Laurens County. The year in numbers looks like this:

  • 27 Ribbon Cuttings
  • Recruited 40 new Chamber members
  • Host 88 networking opportunities and events
  • Increased annual revenue by 26.6% from 2021
  • Hosted 22 teams for the 26th Annual Golf Tournament
  • Hosted 688 people at the 14th Annual Oyster Roast, their largest and probably most loved event of the year.

Munyan emphasized the Chambers role in connecting organizations and individuals, supporting business with networking and education opportunities and the expanding role of building community through collaboration.

In 2022, they founded the Laurens County Chamber Foundation.  The Foundation houses the Keep Laurens County Beautiful Affiliate and acts as the fiscal agent for the Laurens County Revolutionary War 250th Committee.  The countywide beautification partnership in 2022 with Laurens County Council, the City of Clinton, City of Fountain Inn, City of Laurens, and the Laurens County Development Corporation along with the Chamber, created the Keep America Beautiful Affiliate position under the Chamber umbrella.

“I must say, this initiative has taken off and has exceeded the expectation of fulfilling this mission, to engage the public in the county-wide litter, recycling, and beautification efforts through impact, education, and enforcement,” said Munyan.

So what’s next?

The Chamber looks forward to launching their Small Business Empowerment Program, partnering to battle litter issues, and developing and implementing a tourism workplan.

They will continue to build community awareness of accomplishments, events, and opportunities across Laurens County to encourage engagement, grow participation, and ingrain pride.

The final segment of the evening’s program was the Recognitions and Awards Presentations. 

Officers of the Year:

Each year, law enforcement agencies across Laurens County recognize an officer exceeding duty requirements and demonstrating a distinct pattern of professional achievement.  These deserving officers are:

  • Laurens County Sheriff’s Office- Deputy Tyler Stroud
  • City of Clinton Police Department – Patrol Lieutenant Anderson
  • Laurens City Police Department – Sergeant Ryan Willard

District Teacher of the Year:

Each Year the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce acknowledges and honors those individuals that truly exemplify excellence in education. Annually both of our School Districts select a Teacher of the Year. Recognized this year from each district was:

  • Ms. Connie Lewis – District 55 Teacher of the Year
  • Ms. Olivia Gardner – District 56 Teacher of the Year

 Cecil Davenport Award:

Each year the Chamber of Commerce honors high school sophomores for consideration to receive this prestigious award.  This year there were two runners up and one Davenport recipient.

Runners up were Chandler Dailey of Clinton High School and Emma Wilson of Laurens District High School.

The winner of the 2022 Cecil Davenport award was Maggie Collins of Laurens Academy.

Duke Award:

This prestigious award recognizes an individual or individuals who set a standard and foster a culture for citizenship, service, and community responsibility and who displays strong moral values such as integrity and stewardship.

This year’s Duke Energy Award for Public Service was presented to Mrs. Stephanie Bowen. She is an active member of South Main Church and a registered DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).  She partnered to host Wreaths Across America in Cross Hill, where 100 wreaths were placed on Veteran graves for the holidays, and she was the lead on the Cross Hill Earth Day Countywide Cleanup.

John P. Faris Volunteer of the Year:

This award is based on volunteer efforts, making a big impact in Laurens County, relating to the work of the Chamber. This award is presented in honor of the late Mr. John P. Faris for his uncompromising commitment to the Chamber and the community.

This award was presented to Mr. Ernie Segars who served Laurens County professionally for 27 years before retiring and with service on multiple board and committees. Segars currently serves as the Chair for the Laurens County Revolutionary War 250th Committee. 

Keep Laurens County Beautiful Community Partner Award:

This award recognizes a business, organization, or individual exemplifying an ongoing commitment to a cleaner, greener, and more beautiful Laurens County.

This year’s recipient was Mrs. Renee Gibbs, District Coordinator for the Laurens County Soil & Water Conservation District. She works hard to educate residents in Laurens County about the importance of our natural resources and the consequences of ignoring our soil and water resources and plays a vital role in Team Ecology, a program that allows all 3rd graders in District 55 &56 to come to the Joe Adair Outdoor Education Center.

Ambassador of the Year Award:

The ambassador of the year is selected from the ambassador of the quarter winners based on attendance at meetings and volunteering at events, referral and recruitment of new members, and retention of existing members.

Quarterly winners were:

  • Cortni Motes · Laurens County Administration
  • Jenny Turner · Thornwell
  • Jervelle Fort SC DHEC
  • Amber Graydon · Hospice of Laurens County

The Ambassador of the Year award was given to Jenny Turner.

Robert M. Vance Small Business of the Year Award:

This award honors the memory of one of Laurens County’s most outstanding leaders in business, finance and industry.  The recipient is selected from the four Small Business of the Quarter winners who were honored in 2022.



  • Wes Meetz – Palmetto Brothers Dispensary
  • Troy & Jody Prosser Barefoot – Acres Adventure Farm
  • Walter Hughes Jr. & Walter Hughes III – Sadler Hughes Apothecary
  • Tom & Shannon Ashley – Lakeview Bar-B-Q

The award was presented to Wes Meetz, owner of Palmetto Brothers Dispensary.

Spirit of the Chamber Award:

This award is presented to a member of the Chamber of Commerce who has demonstrated exceptional service to the Chamber by supporting the Chamber’s mission to promote, strengthen, and develop the business community in Laurens County.

The Chamber team described him as a silent partner, he is often in the background of initiatives cheering and supporting, but not often recognized for the tremendous impact he makes in the work of the Chamber and across Laurens County.  The award was presented to Blake Davis.

The presentation of awards was the conclusion of the program and appropriately so. The winners of these awards and the room full of county leaders, business owners, and community volunteers all embody the passion and commitment to making Laurens County the best place to live.

Laurens County is open for business.