Thursday, June 12, 2008
Chamber of Commerce – it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure
Amy S. Heaton
As executive director of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce, involvement in community activities and support of member events are all a part of my job.
Having lunch with the residents of Trinity Missions Health and Rehab on May 13 for National Senior Citizens’ Week could hardly be considered work. It was an hour filled with home-cooked food in the company of delightful people who are quite happy to be right where they are – in a beautiful facility, enjoying planned activities, and tended to by a caring staff.
Spending the day at Wall Doxey State Park on May 15 with this year’s Leadership Marshall class might as well have been a retreat with friends. We sat in a windowed room overlooking a serene lake surrounded by rustic nature while we learned about building strategic partnerships and phases of organization. After a delectable lunch prepared by Wall Doxey’s exemplary chefs, we participated in open discussions regarding the challenges of diversity, realizing much about ourselves and each other.
Traveling to Jackson on May 16 with Stephanie Movre of the Holly Springs Bureau of Tourism and Recreation was comparable to a girls’ night out (but without the “night” and without the “out”).
Arriving at the Old Capital Inn in Jackson, we met new people who will serve as guides through the Main Street journey and saw examples of projects implemented in other communities. On the way home, we brainstormed how we could tailor those projects to the uniqueness of Holly Springs.
Volunteering with chamber board members Lynn Pullen, Lisa Cole, Bill Janssen, and Annie Moffitt at the Marshall County Fairgrounds on May 17 for the benefit for the Elliott family was much like attending a revival. As we served plates of fish prepared by Sheriff Kenny Dickerson, we were entertained by some of the finest gospel music Holly Springs has to offer, and our faith in community spirit was renewed by the impressive turnout.
Joining the Collins-Hurdle VFW Post 5697 to place flags upon the graves of soldiers in Hill Crest Cemetery in observance of Memorial Day was as ceremonial as my father’s retirement from the United States Marine Corps. The sea of flags when we were done, by their very nature, commanded respect and gratitude.
Providing traffic control during the Killer Kudzu 5K run sponsored on May 30 by American Pacific Paneling to benefit Relay for Life seemed like an Olympic event.
Together, my oldest daughter and I witnessed both the determination of athletes as they trudged up Killer Hill and the commitment of families to each other as several children less than 10 years old raced alongside their parents toward the finish line of a challenging course. I look forward to joining the celebration of life that will be held this Friday with Relay for Life at Coopwood Park beginning at 6 p.m.
Weekly Rotary Club meetings at Annie’s Restaurant remind me of family reunions. That close-knit membership gathers together to enjoy Miss Annie’s Southern cooking and unmistakable charm while we learn of progress in the family that is Holly Springs, such as the Mississippi State Highway Department’s development of the I-22 corridor, Strawberry Plains Audubon’s educational programs for children, and being hosted by Rust College at the Beckley Center as they anticipate the completion of their state-of-the-art research center, to name a few.
Each meeting closes with a smile as Lois Swanee, curator of the Marshall County Historical Museum and local radio talk show host (who could easily be compared to the family matriarch) announces the scheduled guests for her Thursday afternoon radio program at 3 p.m. on WKRA (repeated on Saturdays).
I extend a heartfelt “thank you” to the members of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce for making my job seem so much less like work!
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