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Chamber honors businesses, installs officers
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Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kenny Smiley poses with representatives from The Heritage Bank, which won the award for business of the year for a business with more than 35 employees. Representing the bank in accepting the award are Joe Ford, Danny Creasy, James Rogers and Willa Lewis. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

Chamber’s 2009 winners

• Civic leader of the year: Dr. Seth Borquaye
• Business leader of the year: George Holtzman owner of Coldwell Banker Holtzman Realtors, Holtzman Real Estate Services, Holtzman Insurance Agency, and All-American Storage & U-Haul
• Business of the year with 2-15 employees: The Imprint Warehouse owned and operated by Daniel Clark
• Business of the year with more than 35 employees: The Heritage Bank
• Self-employed business of the year: Jimmy Shanken, realtor

Local business owners gathered at Club Stewart on Thursday for the 2010 Liberty County Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and awards dinner. The event, sponsored by The Auto Super Center and owner Kevin Thomas, recognized locally owned and operated businesses that managed to thrive in 2009 despite the recession and the cancellation of a promised fifth brigade at Fort Stewart.
The evening opened with a motivational speech by Liberty County native Brynn Grant. Grant is the executive director of the Creative Coast Alliance in Savannah. She recalled personal stories which she said helped her in her career. She spoke of simple principles companies and employees can use to expand their clientele, especially during difficult times. Grant reminded the audience that persistence and perseverance are essential in overcoming obstacles. Nurturing and building relationships, hard work and applying creative thinking will help broaden the scope of an existing company.
Liberty County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kenny Smiley introduced outgoing chairman Danny Creasy. Creasy in turn passed the gavel and swore in the new incoming chairman, Toby Mahan.
Mahan said he was ready to hit the ground running and said his slogan will be partnering for progress.
“We have a lot of things in the pipeline right now,” he said. “Membership development, economic development, community development and our annual events and we are getting the group started and moving on the projects.”
Liberty County Solid Waste Director Dave Sapp introduced the 2009 civic leader of the year, Dr. Seth Borquaye.
“This is unbelievable,” Borquaye said. “Looking at all the people in this room I know there are so many people who deserve this award. I think to myself what I have done to deserve this award. All I do is wake up every morning, in sickness or in health, and try to do what I think is right to make life better for the citizens of Liberty County. I hope every step I take will make this county a better place.”
Borquaye credited his wife and three children for, as he said, “Allowing me to be the man I am.”
The evening was capped off when George Holtzman received the award for business leader of the year.
“It’s an exclamation point on what a lot of hard work and having a good wife behind you, with a solid and sound business principle, can mean,” Holtzman said.
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