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Chamber celebrates 60 years; honors citizen and business of the year

By Staff | Jun 28, 2019

Patricia Sherwood, center, was honored with the Chuck Ellison Distinguished Citizen of the Year award by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce on Friday evening. She is seen with Chamber President Josh Householder, left and The Journal Publisher Christopher Kinsler, who presented the award. Toni Milbourne

CHARLES TOWN — The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce celebrated 60 years at their annual banquet at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races on June 21.

Chamber President Josh Householder welcomed guests to the dinner and recognition event.

“We recognize 36 new Chamber members this year,” Householder said. “Fourteen of those are new businesses and 22 are existing businesses that joined the Chamber this year.”

New businesses included Charis Realty Group, Rossy’s Place and Scoop Dawg Ice Cream. Many of the businesses had representatives present at the gathering to receive their membership plaques.

The focal point of the evening centered on two specific awards: The Chuck Ellison Distinguished Citizen Award and the George E. Vickers Business Award.

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College was awarded the George E. Vickers Business of the Year Award at Friday's Chamber of Commerce banquet. Shown are members of the college's administrative team accepting the award. Toni Milbourne

The Distinguished Citizen Award was renamed in honor of Ellison after his passing in 2016. Ellison had served for 16 years on the Chamber board including serving as President from 2005-2006.

For the 2019 season, the award was sponsored by The Journal and Publisher and Editor Christopher Kinsler was on hand to recognize this year’s recipient, Patricia (Patti) Sherwood. Sherwood is the immediate past president for the Eastern Panhandle Board of Realtors and continues to serve on that board. She is also an adjunct professor at Shepherd University and very active in the community.

Kinsler commented on Sherwood’s efforts raising funds for the local women’s shelter.

“This person spearheaded a small, but powerful fundraiser, where she collected purses and filled them with basic essentials women need,” Kinsler said. “She has also served for countless hours with Hospice of the Panhandle, alongside her husband. No matter what she does it with a true and genuine spirit.”

Sherwood, who now shares the Citizen of the Year designation with her husband, John, who was the recipient of the award in 2016, was shocked to hear her name called.

“This has been the biggest surprise. I didn’t know you could get an award for having fun,” she said of her efforts within the Jefferson County community.

Several previous winners of the award were on hand to welcome Patti Sherwood into their midst. In addition to John Sherwood, Pete Dougherty (2014), Gary Chicchirichi (2013), Dennis Barron (1989), Locke Wysong (2011), Jane Tabb (2007) and Amy Panzarella (2018) were also present.

Following the presentation of the Citizen of the Year award, the Chamber honored the business of the year with the George E. Vickers Business Award. George Vickers served the Chamber in varying roles including president and executive director between the years of 1963 and 1995.

In past years, the Chamber named just the top business; however, in a change of focus, the top three businesses in the county were listed prior to the announcement of the top business.

Videos were presented highlighting Chick-Fil-A, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College and Black Dog Coffee.

The announcement came after the video presentations that Blue Ridge CTC was the recipient for 2019.

Blue Ridge offers associate degrees, certificates and certification training in information technology, culinary arts, engineering, liberal arts, business administration and allied health fields. They have formed partnerships with regional high schools, technical schools and other institutions of higher learning to develop a strong presence in the Panhandle.

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College has approximately 290 full and part-time employees, and is the largest community college in the West Virginia system.

Peter G. Checkovich, founding president of BRCTC, recognized the hard work of many who help make the organization a success.

“This is my team — they do everything,” Checkovich said, as several of his employees joined him to accept the award.