Chamber honors several for commitment to Pendleton County


Pendleton County Chamber of Commerce sought the input of Pendleton Countians in honoring individuals, groups and businesses for a special commitment to Pendleton County.

Outstanding Citizen Award is given who has through volunteer efforts or employment, improved the quality of life in the community in an outstanding manner or who has distinguished herself by accomplishments on a regional, state or national level. Floride McDonald was named the recipient. She is a member of the Mt. Auburn Homemakers where she has served as President for two years and Cultural Arts Chair for seven years. She has volunteered many hours to other organizations. Floride has planned a visit to area covered bridges, a buffet meal at the Ark Encounter and a Native American Tea. The highlight was a Native American Quilt made and raffled by Mt. Auburn club members. Proceeds were donated to the Markey Cancer Center.She is a past Worthy Matron of order of the Eastern Star in which she has been a member for 43 years. She is part member of the American Legion 109. She sang in the Heritage Church Choir for 24 years along with doing church work in other areas. Her numerous Pendleton County Extension volunteer activities include: PC Youth Fair Board member, Organization of Youth Fair Floral Hall, KEHA Choir for two years, attendance at state KEHA meetings for five years, participation in Community Block Parties, What's for Dinner classes, Recipes for Life with 5th graders, Readyfest and Wool Fest. While doing all of this, she lets her light shine at Pine Grove United Methodist Church and volunteers a great deal of her time as a caring spirit to all she does.

Image Award recognizes a business, organization, or person that has made significant contributions toward a positive image of Pendleton County. Falmouth Outlook was named the recipient. A weekly newspaper that covers the latest headlines, community happenings and local events in Falmouth, Butler and other areas of Pendleton County, it has seen an overhaul of the look of the paper and commitment to telling the stories of Pendleton County. The paper won 25 awards in 2018 including 15 for editorial and 10 for advertising. While covering monthly governmental meetings and breaking news, the staff has made a commitment to focusing on the great things happening in Pendleton County. An example, is the monthly, Hidden Gems of Pendleton County series. Whether it is an individual, business or organization, it focuses on those doing wonderful things but fly under the radar.  Neil Belcher who has 37 years in the newspaper business serves as Publisher while Keith Smith was recently promoted to Editor for the 112-year paper.

Investment Award is presented to the business, industry, individual or organization that made a significant financial investment in Pendleton County. The Pendleton County Youth Fair was named the recipient. After financial concerns in 2013, the youth fair was on its last legs till a group of fair supporters met that fall to commit to its continuing. With virtually zero money, lofty goals to own the property, and to one day have the fair built back to something residents could be proud, seemed like a daunting task. With reorganization in place and goals set, it is amazing to see the transformation of the Pendleton County Youth Fair. The Fair Board purchased the fairgrounds from the school district and has committed to developing the property for year round use. They received a Ky Department of Agriculture grant in the amount of $99,000 to focus on infrastructure updates, maintenance, and service. They plan on installing a permanent sign, roof/gutter repairs, additional space for livestock, bleachers, kitchen upgrades, and restroom/plumbing upgrades. KRT host shows at the venue, Fiscal Court hosts Senior Bash, City of Falmouth hosts 4th of July fireworks, a parade, as well as Halloween event. The fairgrounds is more than a week-long fair, it is becoming a community event center.

Public Service Award recognizes a county, state, or federal employee, individual or group who through exemplary performance has contributed to the quality of life in Pendleton County for the citizens and those who visit the community. Pendleton County 911 Dispatch was named the recipient. The 911 Dispatch Center is the lifeline for the citizens of the county. They took over 17,000 calls for service in 2018 including hundreds of medical calls, weather-related calls, rescue calls, and informational calls. Dispatchers take calls from those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They have a high level of responsibility in serving the public and are trained in life-saving techniques, to include emergency medical assistance to save someone's life. They have helped bring a baby into the world, assist in locating missing people, calmed citizens, consoled those who have lost loved ones, gotten officers the backup to keep them safe, gotten resources of those in command of an accident or disaster scene, provided information to get criminals off the street, and kept records and official documentation. Telecommunicators in the Dispatch Center do an outstanding job serving the public, every day of the year and enhance the quality of life in Pendleton County for our citizens and those who visit our community.

James Griffin Community Involvement Award is awarded to a business, organization, individual or group who have distinguished themselves by significant volunteer contributions in many areas benefiting the community. Open Hands from Turner Ridge Baptist Church was named the recipient. Jesus spent his time on Earth meeting the needs of people, having compassion on them and providing that He was the Messiah, the anointed of God to die for the sins of the world, and then He said, "As the Father has sent me, I also send you." Open Hands is an effort to fulfill, in some small way, that command of Jesus. Angie Gibson and Robin Koettel began Open Hands as a food pantry in order to take food and other items to homes in need in November 2017. In June 2018, they and other members of the church began to offer food to people at the shelter in Veteran's Park. When the weather got cold in October, the people at Community Action offered their building for serving the food. Stonewood Gardens graciously offered their facilities for serving meals each Tuesday night. That first evening in June 2018, they served less than 40 meals. By the end of April in 2019, they served just less than 400 meals.