St. Clair News Aegis (Pell City, AL)

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February 7, 2012

Marbury is Leeds’ Citizen of the Year

Leeds — Celebrating the achievements of its city, the Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) held its annual banquet to honor Leeds business of the year, club/organization of the year, teacher of the year and citizen of the year.

Welcoming everyone, outgoing LACC president Scott Robinson with Chick-Fil-A said, “We are proud of the support you all give the chamber.”

Award-winning news anchor and NBC 13’s Daytime Alabama co-host David Lamb was the night’s featured speaker. Discussing the entrepreneurial spirit he learned from his dad, Lamb said he was making cold sales calls at the age of 10.

“I was learning how to pitch our family business and ideas. It was great experience,” said Lamb.

Incorporating hard work into his routine at an early age allowed Lamb to overcome not only his fears, but also the speech impediment he had as a child.

“I hear my dad daily in the things he taught me. I am grateful for that opportunity,” Lamb said.

Addressing issues facing small business owners today, Lamb said, “It’s amazing how the landscape is changing. Many businessmen and women are concerned, but history tells us there is hope.”

Lamb described Enterprise, Ala. in 1915 and its triumph over the devastating boll weevil attack on its cotton crops. Letting his audience know 60 percent of the cotton farmers’ crops were completely wiped out, with the whole area on the brink of bankruptcy, one farmer had a new idea.

“Remembering a suggestion he heard from George Washington Carver, the farmer said, ‘plant peanuts.’”

Breathing life back into this Coffee County community, Lamb said, “Peanuts took them where cotton couldn’t. Their worst fear ushered in their greatest victory.”

Encouraging small business owners to never give up. Lamb said you have to change your perspective.

“Believe in your choice. Don’t go tentatively. The greatest days are ahead. Identify your boll weevil and find your peanut,” said Lamb. “Despite our current economic situation, great things can be accomplished. Your peanut’s out there, go find it.”

Continuing with the momentum from Lamb’s speech, the awards were presented to business of the year, club/organization of the year, teacher of the year and citizen of the year.

* Teacher of the Year went to Stephanie Freeman, a senior level Algebra and Calculus teacher at Leeds High School. Becoming board certified this year Freeman was nominated by one of her students and is credited for the 2011 senior class being awarded an unprecedented amount of scholarship offerings.

“Thank you! I was completely surprised I was voted teacher of the year. I love what I do and I love my kids. I enjoy motivating and captivating my students’ attention. I hope they learn a little something from me,” said Freeman.

* Organization of the Year was awarded to Leeds Masonic Lodge #446. Established in 1886, the Masonic Lodge is the oldest organization in Leeds.

“We try to give and not expect anything in return,” said H.B. Beddingfield who accepted the award on behalf of the Leeds Masonic Lodge #446.

* Business of the Year was presented to Daniel Corporation/The Outlet Shops of Grand River. Rewarded for spotlighting much recognition on the Leeds area, Daniel Corporation/the shops are not only a vital part of the Leeds business community, but also a community partner.

Jamie Robinson, Marketing Director for The Outlet Shops of Grand River, accepted the award, saying, “We were graciously welcomed into the community and honored to be a part of Leeds. We are humbled and honored to be recognized.”

* Citizen of the Year went to Dr. Carl Marbury. Honored for his efforts for the betterment of the City of Leeds, his boundless energy and commitment to making Leeds a city of excellence.

“What a wonderful gift coming from the people of our wonderful hometown. I love Leeds. It’s a special place. It’s heartwarming to be a part of such a great city with so many wonderful people. Thank you,” said Marbury.

Before adjourning Scott Robinson thanked the audience for allowing him to serve on the chamber.

“It truly has been a blessing. It’s been an honor to serve my community and give back to a community who has given so much to me.”

Mayor Eric Patterson concluded the night’s event by saying, “The businesses are the life blood of the community and the citizens are its catalysts. Great citizens make a great community.”

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