Nominees named for Chamber’s annual Distinguished Service Awards

FEB. 1 – The Hardin County Chamber of Commerce will host its 22nd Annual Meeting and Distinguished Service Awards Banquet on Thursday, Feb. 8, at Pickwick Landing State Park Inn.

Silent auction and business showcase begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the ceremony at 6:30 p.m.

Along with the graduation of the Hardin County Leadership Class, the presentations of the service awards are nominated by the community and given in recognition to those who have made a significant contribution to the area.

The recipient of the “Bill Bellis Pinnacle Award” is Jim Kerr.

• Jim Kerr has served and continues to serve in many roles for the benefit of his community. He is charter member of the Tennessee Valley Farmers, a former charter president of the Savannah Gideons, a former chairman of the 911 Board, a member of the Savannah Historical Board and a 13-year member on the West Tennessee Agriculture Museum Board.

Perhaps most notably, Kerr is known for creating the Christmas displays that were once at the Farm Bureau office and are now placed on Wayne Road near Sonic during the holiday season. 

Man of the Year

The nominees are:

• C.D. Rickman currently serves Hardin County as a commissioner and as the Veterans Services officer. He is an active member of the American Legion, president of Friends of Shiloh National Military Park, Sons of the Confederate Veterans and a commander of Camp 1454. 

• Garry Welch is the city manager of Savannah, a post he has held 12 years.  He serves on the Tennessee City Manager’s Association Policy/Legislative Committee. He is also the State District 7 representative for the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Municipal League and the current chairman of Team Hardin County.

• Michael Davis currently serves as the Hardin County director of schools which is made up of five elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. He is also a member of The Darryl Worley Foundation, president of Savannah Cemetery, co-host of WKWX SportsTalk and a member of the Tennessee Organization for School Superintendents. 

Woman of the Year

The nominees are:

• Renae Martin is the current president of the Rotary Club of Savannah and has previously served as the president elect, secretary and the public relations chair. She is also an active board member for Hardin County Healthcare Foundation, the Area 7A vice-president for the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women and a committee member for Christmas on Main.

• Faye Lindberg has served this past year alongside other members of the Col. Joseph Hardin’s Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in bringing the Moving Vietnam Memorial Wall to Hardin County. She serves in Shiloh Falls Garden Club, Pickwick Dam Ladies and Raise the Flag. Faye is also an active tourism volunteer, retiree recruit and a Hardin County “hop on, hop off” guide for the American Queen riverboat. 

Educator of the Year

The nominees are:


• Kim Sharp teaches senior English at Hardin County High School. She serves as an instructor to prepare students for college by hosting free ACT workshops, a mentor to create a pacing guide best suited for each one of her students, and a tutor known by many to arrive at 6:30 a.m. to insure that her students were able to walk at graduation.

• Beth Dennis teaches second grade at Parris South Elementary. She helps inspire her students to learn with confidence, motivates them to overcome their learning obstacles and encourages them to give their best effort daily.

• Karla Cossey teaches fifth grade science at Northside Elementary. She is the leader and facilitator of parent science nights at Northside Elementary, she utilizes Hardin County community resources to provide students with real world experiences and integrates cross curricular activities into science instruction. 

• Janet Hughes teaches fifth grade at Parris South Elementary. She currently serves as a member of the Lighthouse Team, an advocate for the Leader in Me program as well as the coordinator for multiple class projects designed to encourage her students to give back to local organizations. 

Darryl Worley Public Servant

The nominees are:

• James Buck McClendon has been a volunteer firefighter with the Hardin County Fire Department for three years. As a volunteer firefighter, he has completed more than 300 hours of training with the Hardin County Fire Department, completed the Tennessee State Fire Academy Arson Investigator class and is now an arson investigator for the Hardin County Fire Department. 

•Robert Steward is an officer for the Savannah Police Department. He is one of the child passenger safety technicians and the active K9 handler who performs routine walk-throughs in the schools to educate about the K9s while also working to keep drugs and illegal narcotics out of the Hardin County school system.

Going the Extra Mile

The nominees are:

• Tennessee Valley Farmers is a group of farmers dedicated to agriculture in Hardin County. This past year, they partnered with the Tennessee Valley Authority as well as the water operation division to offer input on managing the flood stage flow of water from the Tennessee River. Through the work of Tennessee Valley Farmers and Tennessee Valley Electric, assistance is being given in and near the White Oaks Management property for drainage control.  

• Our Daily Bread Ministries is an organization created by Finley and Judith Beckham to provide nutritional services for the community. Most notably, the organization is known for the creation of the “Backpack Program” and its dedication to sending take home, easy to prepare, weekend food with children in the Hardin County School systems. 

Volunteer of the Year

The nominees are:

• Vicki Bobbitt is a current board member of Savannah Main Street. She volunteers throughout the community by serving on the Christmas on Main committee, planning a holiday reception for the downtown businesses as well as members, dressing up as “Olaf” and even checking by the downtown area to make sure the planter boxes are in good shape.

• Janey Edwards serves as a “Pink Lady” at Hardin Medical Center. She volunteers for Meals on Wheels, Shoe Box Ministry, Friends of the Library and a weekly reader to the patients of RiverWick Assisted Living. 

Noel Freeman Community Service

The nominees are:

• Wayne Jerrolds is a longtime resident of Hardin County, well known as the hometown fiddle champion. He created and continues to host the Savannah Bluegrass Festival each year, bringing a full lineup of performers to Wayne Jerrolds River Park and Court Square. Aside from the festival, he serves as a monthly volunteer performer at Harbert Hills Nursing Home, HMC Health and Rehabilitation, Savannah Healthcare and RiverWick Assisted Living, as well as many other facilities in Hardin County. The Bluegrass Festival is the longest running festival in Tennessee. Jerrolds is is listed in the Bluegrass Hall of Fame and is the inventor of the “fidd-o-lin,” a musical insutrument with a fiddle on one side and a mandolin on the other. 

• The Rotary Club of Savannah is an organization with the purpose of serving based upon what is “truthful, fair to all concerned, if it will build good will as well as better friendships, and if it is beneficial to all concerned.” The club extends its work throughout the community by supporting local students, their leadership skills and their education goals. Rotary awards six scholarships each year to qualifying Hardin County Students, organizes multiple local fundraisers and provides a dictionary to every third grader in Hardin County each year.

Student of the Year

The nominees are:

• Katlyn Webb

• Alyssa Irons

• Nathan Caldwell

• Whitney Williams

• Julia Mazanek.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the chamber at 925-2363 or email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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