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A roaring success
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The Member of the Year award is presented to Dayron Deaton-Owens, center, by Justin Tanner, left, and Mandy Eller.

Stillhouse Restaurant at Short Mountain Distillery was the site of the recent McMinnville Young Professionals Inaugural Celebration and Awards Banquet. The theme was "A Roaring Southern Soiree" and featured 1920's décor and costumes. 

MYP was founded as a unique community for 22-40-year-old professionals to GROW personally, ENGAGE professionally and GIVE BACK to the community by maximizing their individual and collective potential.

In addition to the awards presentation and a look back at MYP’s first year, attendees were treated to live music by the band Danimal Planet and a delicious meal prepared by Stillhouse Restaurant. 

Awards, voted on by members, were presented during the event. They include:

MVP Award ‑ Sarah Cantrell

MYP president Justin Tanner presented the award and said, “Sarah was definitely the glue that held everything together in this first year, making sure our brand new organization moved things forward and thrived!”

Changemaker of the Year Awards ‑ Ben Newman, Daniel Owens, Casi Powell Cantrell, Wes Williams and Ryle Chastain

“With the Changemaker Award, we want to shine a light on an individual or group that is helping to take our community to a higher level,” said president elect Ross Garrison. “We are so proud to honor these five young professionals who have chosen to serve and represent our community as public officials.”

Volunteer of the Year Award ‑ Jason Pitts

“Jason always puts service before self and has inspired and encouraged us all to give back in any way we can,” said presenter and MYP board member Autumn Malone. 


Professional of the Year Award ‑ Keval Sheth

“When we opened up the voting for professional of the year, we asked members to consider a member who had made a considerable impact on his or her professional field,” said MYP board member Sarah Cantrell. “The response was overwhelming! Keval is truly a believer in the progress of McMinnville.”

Member of the Year Award ‑ Dayron Deaton-Owens 

“She has participated in most of our events and activities and has done her part to promote the mission of MYP and to encourage current and potential members to be involved and active in the group and in the community,” said presenter Tanner. 

Chamber of Commerce president Mandy Eller presented Tanner with a plaque recognizing his contributions during the organization’s first year. 

Upon accepting the honor, Tanner said, “It’s been a true honor to serve as president of this organization in its first year, but I wouldn’t have been able to do my job without the work and leadership of our board of directors.”

He continued, “The three tenets of MYP are to Grow, Engage, and Give Back.  Those were our goals in 2018.  We sought to grow personally through monthly networking socials at businesses across the county. We also engaged professionally at our luncheons and dinners where we had some great speakers.

The third focus of MYP is giving back, and the group chose to do that by working with different organizations throughout the year as a group and individually.

The organization's main outreach partner in 2018 was Hamilton Street Activity Center. In addition to several monetary donations and mentoring opportunities with Hamilton Street kids, the group did a monthly donation drive to help keep the center’s pantry and supply closets full throughout the year.”

The membership was tasked with nominating an organization to partner with in 2019, with Families in Crisis chosen. FIC director Kristy Stubblefield was on hand at the banquet to accept the partnership and speak a little bit about the organization. 

“We appreciate the contributions that MYP members plan to make to our organization over the year and we hope to also use that partnership to continue to spread the word about the resources provided by FIC to our community,” said Stubblefield.