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Local leaders were honored at the 38th annual Chamber of Commerce Community Awards Celebration held May 19, including (front row l-r) Outstanding Citizen of the Year Niall Mathieson, Volunteer of the Year James W. Butler, Heathcare Hero Sherry Farr, Businessperson of the Year Cory McCook (back row l-r) Career Woman of the Year Dr. Chanda Thompson, Lamar County High School STAR teacher Jewel Filipovich, STAR student Katelyn Grace McCook, the Britton Cauthen Firefighter of the Year award winner William Reeder, countywide and St. George’s Episcopal STAR student William Mulder and STAR teacher Patricia Hill, Career Woman of the Year Kellie Lively Mercer and Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Corporal Sharima Price. (Photo: Rachel McDaniel)

Awards night: Niall Mathieson is Citizen of the Year

The 38th annual Chamber of Commerce Community Awards Celebration was held May 19 as local leaders received accolades for their efforts in the community. Master of ceremonies Ryran Traylor congratulated all those who were nominated as well as the winners for making Barnesville-Lamar County such a wonderful community.

This year there were two winners for the Career Woman of the Year award, including local veterinarian Dr. Chanda Thompson and Lamar County Family Connection Collaborative executive director Kellie Lively Mercer.

Chanda graduated from Lamar County High School then attended Gordon State College, Auburn University and Tuskegee Veterinary School of Medicine before returning to her hometown to open a mobile veterinary service. She recently opened a 12,000 square foot facility and employs six full time staff and two part time associate veterinarians.

Kellie Lively Mercer manages the Lamar County Family Connections group to ensure that everyone in the community has the resources they need for success. She is also involved with many groups in the community and helps with local events each year.

Three local STAR students and the teachers they selected to honor were recognized at the event, including countywide STAR student William Mulder of St. George’s Episcopal School. He selected

Patricia Hill as his STAR teacher. Lamar County Schools STAR student Katelyn Grace McCook selected third time STAR teacher recipient Jewel Filipovich to be honored. Rock Springs Christian Academy STAR student Arthur Edward Burnes selected Delainer Jones as his STAR teacher.

The Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award was presented to Corporal Sharima Price of the Barnesville Police Department. She was appointed as administrator for Barnesville Municipal Court in 2020 and works with people of all ages in the community well. Her co-workers say she is an inspiration to them and anyone she comes in contact with on the job.

The winner of the Britton Cauthen Firefighter of the Year Award is William Reeder who was thanked for his service in the community and his courage in facing difficult situations.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to James W. Butler for his contribution to many notable local groups and services, including the Ramps of Love, the LCFCC, Lamar County 4-H, Otis W. Butler Youth Foundation, Parent to Parent of Georgia and many others.

The Healthcare Hero Award was presented to Sherry Farr for her years of service at the Lamar County Health Department and for arranging services for those in need in the community.

The Businessperson of the Year Award was presented to Cory McCook who is owner of both Carpet Cure and Middle GA Rug Spa. His nomination stated that he always strives for better in himself, his business, his employees and all those he works with on the job and in the community. He has coordinated the Illumination in Ceremony in Barnesville and has been worship leader at his church since 2007 and worked with youth there as well.

The Outstanding Citizen Award was presented to Niall Mathieson for his many contributions to the community. He is active in many community charities, including the Ramps of Love project for which he drives as far as West Virginia or Florida to track down supplies that are affordable and necessary. His most recent project is Rebuild Lamar through which he and others repair holes in roofs and floors of local homes at no cost to those in need of help. In his acceptance speech, he asked for all the other nominees to stand and be recognized and said Lamar County is the real winner for having such wonderful citizens in the community.

Rachel McDaniel

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