Since we will be celebrating Thanksgiving next week I thought it would be right to think of some of the gifts this year has brought in spite of (you know what).
1) Citizen of the Year – Eddie McAllister.
When I think of all the social unrest throughout our nation, it brings me joy to think back to late January when, as chosen by previous honorees, Eddie McAllister was honored for what has been nothing short of a lifetime’s work in service to the community. The award was given out at our annual “Legends & Leaders Gala” and is sponsored by the Redding Record Searchlight.
“We have a lot of divisions these days. Nights like tonight give us an opportunity to come together, though. And I’m deeply honored — and pretty darned relieved — to be introducing a Citizen of the Year honoree whose entire life’s work is unity,” Record Searchlight executive editor Silas Lyons said in introducing McAllister, doing his best “Paul Harvey” impression.
2) Political Action Committee/Board of Directors
The Redding Chamber is a volunteer-driven organization that would not be able to be nearly as effective without the dedication of the members of the PAC and Board. I’d like to thank Mike Dahl, PAC Chair, and Beth Tappan, Board Chair, for their leadership, guidance, and generosity under some really challenging circumstances.
3) Rapid Recovery Partners
There was a moment back in March when we looked in the mirror and decided we were ready to rise up to be the Chamber our business community needed and focus squarely and nearly exclusively on responding to the immediate and ongoing needs of our members and non-members. That role would not have been possible without the local partners that stepped up to join with us as part of our Rapid Recovery Program. Their financial support helped us to remain committed to our mission to be a convener, catalyst and champion for commerce. Not only were we able to connect businesses with resources needed in a quickly evolving time, we also have worked with the cities of Anderson, Redding, and the City of Shasta Lake, as well as the County of Shasta, in securing and helping to distribute roughly $5.5 million dollars in business grants. This work has saved hundreds of businesses and preserved thousands of jobs in our county.
4) Chamber Staff
Four names: Val, Erin, Haley, and Justine. These are the ladies who have devoted their working lives to show the poise, professionalism and compassion our business community has needed during a time of heavy burdens. I can’t thank them enough. And, as a special note of gratitude, thank you and congratulations to Val Washburn upon the conclusion of more than 26 years with the Redding Chamber. Your dedication (and your laugh) is missed.
5) The Courage of the Local Business Community
Finally, I want to recognize the courage of the people who are the risk takers. Those who provide the opportunity for themselves and others to make a living and provide products or services to the local community. Our many phone conversations with many of you have given us a glimpse into your endless drive to compete, to persist, to endure, not solely because you wish for riches, but because you have so many others depending upon you every day. You are all heart and we are proud to represent you.
President & CEO