Chamber holds 76th annual Gala

Published 3:36 pm Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce held its 76th annual Gala Jan. 28 at Wind Creek Casino and Hotel.

The annual event is held to recognize chamber members and trustees, and give awards to citizens and businesses that have impacted the community over the last year.

Past and current chamber presidents made remarks, and the 2022 board of directors and staff were introduced.

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Current Chamber President Erin Hankins said over the last two years, the community has gone through times of uncertainty.

Hankins said the chamber’s mission has always been to support Atmore.

“Atmore is not only surviving, but growing,” Hankins said.

Past President Emilee Craft said she was honored to have led the chamber over the past two years.

“Atmore has given me everything,” Craft, who came to the city between six and seven years ago to become the branch manager at United Bank. “We have come a long way, and came out strong.”

The 2021 citizen of the year award was awarded to Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Escambia, who lives in Atmore.

“Thank you, Atmore,” Albritton said. “Nobody does anything by themselves.”

Southern Real Estate was given the 2021 Business of the Year award.

Broker and Owner Debbie Rowell thanked the community for its support of her business, and added SRE Realtor Assistant Toni McMurphy and Realtor David Dobson have been a world of support for the business.

The 2021 lifetime achievement award was given to local Business Owner James McNeil.

McNeil’s sister, City Councilwoman Eunice Johnson, introduced him.

McNeil spoke about his early childhood, and the establishment of his filling station on Carver Avenue in 1962.

He recognized his family who attended the banquet as well.

The 2021 lifetime business award was given to Maxwell Construction Co.

Escofab Inc. Owner Ellis Beachy introduced the award. In fact, Beachy had his phone connected with Maxwell Construction Owner Richard Maxwell, who wasn’t present for the banquet. Gregg Akins accepted in Maxwell’s stead.

Through the phone’s speaker into the microphone, Maxwell said he was thankful his company was considered, and thanked his employees for their dedication.