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Chamber gives annual awards

The McMinnville-Warren County Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen of the Year played for his supper Monday night.
Longtime educator, band director and musician Mike Chilcutt and three other members of the Silver and Gold Band had been asked to play at the Chamber’s annual awards banquet held at Bridgestone Learning Center.
“Getting this year’s recipient here tonight was no easy task. We literally had to trump up a musical gig just to get him here,” said last year’s Distinguished Citizen award winner, McMinnville Mayor Jimmy Haley.
“I am proud to stand here as last year’s recipient to help recognize the achievements of an unsung hero, a man who has devoted his life to teaching, a man who has influenced the lives of so many and enriched the lives of countless others,” continued Haley.
Chilcutt is a graduate of Austin Peay University and came to McMinnville to be a band director at Warren County Junior High School. Later, he became band director and chorus teacher at Warren County Senior High School. Today he serves as the director of the Silver and Gold Band and he participates in several jazz and big band troupes.
Earl Barr, owner of Barr’s Furniture was named the Chamber’s Edwin Partin Retailer of the Year. The award was established in 2009 in memory of Chamber member and avid Warren County supporter Edwin Partin.
Last year’s recipient, Pioneer Building Supply owner Amie Hodges, said Barr’s Furniture has been a mainstay in the community for decades.
“Overcoming obstacles and persevering through only makes a business more successful,” said Hodges. “Since its inception in 1963, they have survived and thrived through growing times, construction woes, and an economic recession. In February 2013, McMinnville and Warren County will be proud to have had this business serving our community for 50 years.”
Hodges noted that Barr participates in the Partners in Education program with Morrison School. He is an avid community supporter and is involved in many organizations and church activities including Noon Rotary, Warren County Homebuilders Association, Merchants Retail Credit Bureau, Morrison First Baptist Church where he serves as deacon and Sunday school teacher, and is a member of Gideons International. He serves on the board of McMinnville Housing Authority, Security Federal, the Executive Board of Central Baptist Association, and the advisory board for the Warren County Try Here Buy Here initiative.
“Wow, I didn’t realize I had done all of that. Thank you all very much,” said a gracious Barr.
The Chamber’s 2012 Free Enterprise Award was presented to McMinnville Electric System general manager and CEO Rodney Boyd.
 Last year’s winner, Hale & Hines Nursery owner Terry Hines, said, “Coming to McMinnville Electric System in May 2000, he became only the third general manager of MES since its inception in 1939. Under his guidance, MES began the building of a 22-megawatt power generation facility at the East McMinnville substation in January 2001. The completion of this project enables MES to produce enough power for roughly 45 percent of MES’s peak load and if need be could provide power for all residential homes in McMinnville during a TVA outage. MES became one of the first power systems in the valley to become both a distributor and a supplier of electric power to TVA.”
“Always looking toward the future, last year Rodney oversaw the process of applying for a grant for two electric vehicle chargers. These EVCs were installed this past summer in the parking lot next to the MES building and are there for public use. These were the first in our area to be installed,” Hines said.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Hilda Lytle by last year’s winner, Mike Baus.
“Hilda is involved with many civic organizations,” said Baus. “She is actively involved in the ACHIEVE program. She is on the Warren County Health Council and McMinnville-Warren County Senior Center board of directors. You can find her every Wednesday evening before services start at First Baptist Church in the kitchen serving dinner. She also sings with the choir at First Baptist. She is a certified Tai Chi instructor and teaches an Arthritis Foundation exercise program. She is the coordinator over Warren County’s Family and Consumer education clubs. She also works as a 4-H volunteer.”
Todd Herzog, president of Accu-Router, was named Special Recognition Award winner. Outgoing chamber president Bobby Cox lauded Herzog’s work in spearheading the Citizen’s for Progress Scholarships, which are given annually. He also presides over the Business Roundtable Action Committee. Herzog has been an ardent supporter for developing and enhancing the Mechatronics program at Motlow and Warren County High School.
 Teddy Jones, general manager of Cumberland Caverns, will be the Chamber board chairman for 2013.
 Jones fired up the audience about the upcoming year by saying, “I want us to use what I call marketing evangelism. It’s when you feel so strong about your county or your organizations that your enthusiasm will go to others. They will then go out and will want to spread it too. I want everyone to have that enthusiasm about McMinnville and Warren County.”
 Jones had the audience yelling with him, “It don’t get no better than this! Whooo!”

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