The verdict is in.
Local attorney Michael Galligan is the Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen for 2016.
The award was presented Monday at the Civic Center on a night that saw Smooth Rapids Outfitters and Collins River BBQ win business awards and Anne Vance receive Volunteer of the Year.
The Chamber’s Distinguished Citizen Award is reserved for those who have shown exceptional civic responsibility as well as excellence in their profession. Galligan has practiced law in McMinnville for 44 years and is listed in the Martindale-Hubbell register as one of the preeminent lawyers in the United States.
Galligan served on the board of directors for River Park Hospital for approximately 40 years. He’s also served on the Main Street McMinnville board and continues to make financial contributions to sustain the annual Main Street Live concert series.
He has a special place in his heart for Magness Library. He donated the grand piano used for performances at the library and holds an art show there in which all proceeds are donated to the library. Those are just a small sampling of his community interests.
“He doesn’t do this for everyone to know,” said Chamber president Mandy Eller in presenting the award.
In his acceptance speech, Galligan said he’s not done being a contributor.
“It’s been said that it’s better not to get an award you deserve than to get an award you don’t deserve,” said Galligan. “I don’t think I deserve this, but I’m not done yet.”
Smooth Rapids Outfitters was honored with the Free Enterprise Award. The business got its start in 2012 and is co-owned by brothers Todd and Jimmy Barker and friends Mickey Heath and Michael Lockhart.
“They decided since so many people wanted to borrow their kayaks, they would just start renting them to the public,” said award presenter Todd Herzog, last year’s winner. “They scratched out an idea on restaurant napkins to start a kayak rental and shuttle company. After purchasing 40 boats and hand building a hauling trailer they hauled behind their personal vehicles, Warren countians had an opportunity to rent kayaks and travel down our local rivers with the convenience of being picked up at the end.”
After the kayak rental business proved successful, Smooth Rapids bought seven acres of property on the Barren Fork River and turned it into a campground. They replaced a decrepit house on the property with a beautifully crafted building that serves as a general store. It contains a commercial kitchen which is expected to open later this year.
The group has even started a two-day music festival called Reggae at Smooth Rapids which is held in August.
“Smooth Rapids encompasses much of what enriches our local culture – beautiful landscapes, blue-green flowing rivers and Southern hospitality in a laid-back environment,” said Herzog.
The Edwin Partin Chamber Retailer of the Year Award was presented to Collins River BBQ, which has established a following on Main Street. It was opened in June 2011 by brothers Joe and Chris O’Neal with day-to-day operations now handled by Joe and his wife, Hannah.
“Collins River BBQ plays an important role in defining our downtown district, becoming a destination for locals and visitors alike,” said award presenter Randy Griffith, last year’s winner. “There are music events on a regular basis and when folks come to McMinnville and Warren County for Bluegrass Underground, kayaking, fishing, events at the Park Theater, or to visit family and friends, many make sure to stop at Collins River BBQ.”
Anne Vance was bestowed the honor of Volunteer of the Year. Said award presenter Kate Alsbrook, “Every time she greets me it’s with the same warm smile.”
Vance said she enjoys staying active.
“If we don’t make a difference, we’re not giving anything back to our kids,” said Vance.