Seven Receive Blount Partnership Best of Blount Awards
Seven individuals and businesses that gave their time and resources to make Blount County a special place to live and work were honored at the Blount Partnership Best of Blount Awards held at the Clayton Center for the Arts Thursday evening. Charter Spectrum, Massey Electric, Blount Excavating, C2RL Engineers, DENSO and Cherokee Millwright sponsored the event.
The awards program, which saw more than 1,000 attend, was hosted by Star 102.1-FM morning personalities Kim Hansard and Marc Anthony.
“This was a special night to honor those that give back so much to the Blount County community,” said Blount Partnership President/CEO Bryan Daniels. “These individuals and businesses work tirelessly to make sure that this community remains strong and vibrant.”
The program included a year in review video for the Blount Partnership and paid homage to Carolyn Forster, Sharon Hannum, Joe Dawson and Fred Lawson, who were named Blount County of Chamber Commerce lifetime members due to their outstanding dedication and work with the chamber and the community during their careers.
Kathy Johnson, CBBC Bank vice president, was named the Philanthropist of the Year for her dedication to working with non-profit organizations.
Altar’d State took home the Large Business of the Year honor, while Avero Advisors won Small Business of the Year. Both businesses build in community service time into their employees often-busy schedules.
Its work on the growing homeless issue and its support of many non-profit organizations earned the United Way of Blount County the Community Impact Award.
RT Lodge’s emphasis on assisting guest’s Smoky Mountains experience helped it win the Tourism Award.
The Bright Future Award went to REO Cheesewagon and its proprietor Tina Rhea, which has built a following for its food truck through social media and good food.
Blount County Sheriff’s office investigator Elizabeth Murphy earned the First Responder Award for her life-saving actions assisting a boater who has lost consciousness.
The evening was highlighted with a special visit from former U.S. Army helicopter pilot and prisoner of war Mike Durant, whose saga during a mission in Mogadishu, Solmalia, in 1993 was chronicled in the movie Black Hawk Down.
“I can’t say enough about the energetic talk that Mike gave,” said Daniels. “His talk about leadership and the never quit attitude is something everyone can live by.”
2019 Best of Blount Award Winners
Philanthropist of the Year – Kathy Johnson
Large Business of the Year – Altar’d State
Small Business of the Year – Avero Advisors
Bright Future Award – Tina Rhea, REO Cheesewagon
First Responder Award – Elizabeth Murphy, Blount County Sheriff’s Office
Community Impact Award – United Way of Blount County
Tourism Impact Award – RT Lodge