Chamber awards individuals, business of year

By Crystal Burns

Gibson County’s finest were recognized last week at the Greater Gibson County Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.

Kyle Gehring, Dr. Heather Martin, Bradley and Alicia Owens, and Parham Heating, Cooling & Plumbing took home awards for Educator, Young Professional, Persons, and Business of the Year respectively.

A committee of chamber directors from outside the county determined the winners from nominees submitted by local chamber members.

“If you were honored by being nominated for one of our awards this year, you should be very proud,” said Chamber Executive Director Libby Wickersham. “The nominations were all outstanding. Though the winning nominees share different roles in our county, many of their attributes are close to identical–from their Gibson County upbringing to their Christian background, from being recommended for their honesty and availability, for being recognized by school officials of different Gibson County school districts, and for their desire to see all communities in the country thrive.”

Gehring, agriculture teacher at Bradford High School, has resurrected the FFA program, garnering state recognition. Gehring also encourages his students to take an interest in and become more involved with their community. He reaches out to adult citizens about ways they and Bradford students can work together to bring positive change.

“He is always available and eager to work with other school staff in the different projects they have,” Wickersham said.

Gehring was also recognized for his instructional leadership in the classroom. His students met all competency levels on core indicators on state testing. One nominator said, “Kyle Gehring epitomizes the phrase Educator of the Year.”

Eric Engler, Trenton Special School District, and Crystal Nolen, Gibson County Special School District, were also nominated for the award.

2016 Young Professional of the Year Clayton White presented Martin with her award. Martin owns Medina Family Chiropractic & Acupuncture in Medina.

“She is seen as a motivator, a contributor, and a doer,” White said. “Supporting her family, her church, and her business is what she loves to do.”

Martin currently serves on the chamber board of directors and is a graduate of WestStar Leadership. She is also on the Medina Relay for Life team and is a member of the Tennessee Chiropractic Association.

One peer said, “She genuinely cares about not only her patients, but her community as well.” Another said, “She is a great asset to Medina and Gibson County.”

John Hughey, Julie Hager, Merrilee Taylor, and Candace McCaig were also nominated for Young Professional of the Year.

2016 Person of the Year Barbara Hunt presented this year’s award to the Owens couple. Bradley is an attorney with Hardee Martin Owens. His office is in Trenton. He is also co-owner of The Victory 93.7.

“I have a deep appreciation for the county where I was born and raised, educated, employed, and spiritually guided,” he said. “I have always been taught to give back and support those around you, and I hope to be an example of what is possible if you work hard, make good choices, and give back to your community.”

Bradley is a graduate of WestStar and serves as the evaluator for Gibson County Recovery Court. Alicia is a founding member of Medina Praying Moms and is on the Medina Elementary School PTO. She is also Medina Middle School cheerleading coach. Both serve in their church and volunteer with community non-profits.

“This couple is constantly reaching out to help organizations in our area because as they said themselves, they have been blessed and as they see it, have a responsibility to give back,” Turner said. “They have a great love for Gibson County and want to see all of our communities not only survive but thrive.”

Josh Youmans, Joel Reynolds, Stephanie Alexader, Judy Baker, Daniel King, Scott Dahlstrom, Steven Tate, and Amy Greer were also nominated for the Person of the Year Award.

Randy and Reba Parham and their son Chris received the Business of the Year Award from last year’s winner Wallace Alford, owner of Alford’s Tires in Dyer. Randy started what is now Parham Heating, Cooling & Plumbing 27 years ago and was the company’s only employee. Parham now employs 20 people.

“Their name and number of employees might have changed, but they continue to be a people business that gives credit to its employees for its growth and success,” Alford said. “Believing that there is a better way of doing things, this business strives to make a difference in their community.”

One customer said, “They are reliable, honest, dependable and I know when I call, I will get serviced in a timely manner.” Another said, “They want the job done right the first time and always want to give their customers options.”

Medina Family Chiropractic, The Farmers and Merchants Bank, Trenton Animal Clinic, Hester Drug, Rod’s Tire and Automotive, Duncan’s Pharmacy, and the Northwest Gibson County YMCA were also nominated for Business of the Year.

The chamber presented two Brandon Newman Memorial Scholarships, which are funded through the live and silent auctions held at the banquet, to Abigail Lindsay and Cydney Langston. Both women attend the Dyersburg State Community College Gibson County Center in Trenton.

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