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Chamber honors business, civic leaders
civic leader of year 2
Chamber Director Leah Poole congratulates Dave Sapp as he is named civic leader of the year. - photo by Photo by Alena Parker.
2009 awards

Businesses of the Year:
• VIP Promotional Products (self-employed business)
• Baldino’s (business with 2-15 employees)
• Vann’s Bar and Grill (business with 16-35 employees)
• GeoVista (business with more than 30 employees)

• Civic Leader of the Year: Dave Sapp

• Business Leader of the Year
: Don Carter (posthumously)
Danny Creasy, the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce’s newest chairman, used a hunting analogy Thursday at the chamber’s annual awards banquet to get the crowd excited about the upcoming year.
He rallied area business leaders by urging them to go out and get involved.
“You got to strap on your boots. You got to load your gun. You got to get in the woods,” Creasy said. “You got to go shooting to get some food on the table.”
He admitted tough economic times were ahead, but said the situation should be put in perspective and seen as an opportunity.
“If you listen to the media right now, the world is going to end tomorrow,” Creasy said. “There’s never been a time more important than today for us as a community … to pull our resources together and utilize the things we can offer each other.”
Humorist Ellen Hester, the program’s guest speaker, stressed teamwork during her address, which had the audience inside Club Stewart’s ballroom roaring with laughter.
Hester gave business leaders tips on how to have a productive year by choosing gratefulness over whining and encouragement over pessimism.
“Every morning when you wake up, you decide right then to either rise and shine or rise and whine,” she said. “And that choice is always yours.”
Hester acknowledged that good times easily bring out the best in people, but stressed that it takes real determination to persevere when the going gets tough.  
Hester told the crowd she has a special acronym she likes to employee in the face of a seemingly unsolvable problem or situation: FIDO.
“FIDO is when those things happen you cannot do anything about … because FIDO means ‘forget it and drive on,’ ” said Hester, who added that being surrounded by positive people also is a morale booster.  
Creasy agreed as he expressed gratitude for the positive people — volunteers — who make the chamber successful.
“That’s what the Chamber is all about,” Creasy said. “We want to build relationships.”
Outgoing chairperson Kimberly Thomas thanked the “very hard-working and dedicated group of professionals,” who served on her board for being able to “progress as a chamber and a community.”
The chamber helped start the Georgia Work-Ready Community this year and launched their revamped Web site a couple months ago.
Creasy encouraged the crowd to move forward as a unit for a prosperous year.
“There might be a million-dollar owner sitting by you,” Creasy said. “Opportunities are all around you.”
“That’s really what the Chamber is about — exchanging new ideas,” Chamber executive director Kenny Smiley said.
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