RIO GRANDE — The 79th Gallia County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Banquet Awards played host to a number of awards on Thursday evening as county icons greeted each other for food and fellowship.
Outgoing chamber board members Lori Young and Kyla Carpenter were recognized for their service.
Pat Tackett was recognized as the Marianne Campbell Volunteer of the Year for his service in continually assisting the Gallipolis River Recreation Festival over Independence Day weekend.
The Emancipation Proclamation Committee received the Committee of the Year Award for being instrumental in its ongoing involvement in one of Gallia County’s — and possibly the nation’s — oldest celebration. Since 1863, the region has continued to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s historic announcement proclaiming that all persons deserved a life of freedom from forced slavery and were to live their lives as thus for all time in the U.S.
Ohio Valley Bank received the Community Involvement Award for continually operating as an unflinching supporter of numerous community activities over the years. OVB conducts, as an employee practice, impact days that allow employees up to three paid days out of office to work on community projects.
JC’s Convenience Plus in Rio Grande received the chamber’s Beautification Award for its renovation in merging a gas station and convenience store into a business that also functions as a garden center.
Bossard Memorial Library received the chamber’s Sudden Impact Award. The library is always looking to expand its programming and has played host to hundreds of community-minded events ranging from dramatic theater to informative seminars bent on informing the public about how to handle finances or how to maximize job-searching strategies.
Radio stations 93.1 The Wolf and Joy 990 were announced as the 2015 Small Business of the Year. The Wolf recently changed as a station to playing solely “New Country” music last June. The station has added 20 new advertising partners and given away roughly $35,000 in prizes. WJEH changed to Joy 990 and serves as the region’s source of Southern Gospel music. It also streams music online to reach a larger audience.
Jessie Payne, 86, of Rio Grande, received the chamber’s surprise Bud and Donna McGhee Community Service Award. The award is only announced the night of the banquet and is considered by many to be the highest honor the chamber can bestow. The previous year’s honor was awarded to the late Ray McKinniss.
According to information provided by Marianne Campbell, Payne was born the youngest of eight children with four brothers and three sisters. She was born in a log cabin and attended Cadmus High School before attending the University of Rio Grande to study law. Payne was born and raised in Gallia County.
Payne enjoyed studying the Bible with family after dinner. She learned to read at an early age because each child spent time reading from the book to the others.
Payne cherished Sunday worship and spending time with family to a dinner of fried chicken. Colleagues of Payne have made it clear that she always felt God’s presence in her family’s home.
Payne started volunteering at Holzer Medical Center in 1973 and has not stopped. She also has served as a volunteer for Community Action, Serenity House, the Black History Board, Gallia County NAACP, the Emancipation Celebration and the Gallia County Economic Development Association.
In 2010, she was named the Gallipolis Christmas Parade’s marshal. Payne also serves as Sunday School superintendent at Corinth Baptist Church in Oak Hill.
Payne shared two daughters with her late husband Mike: Carolyn Casey and Sharon Winston. She is the grandmother to six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.