Chamber banquet to feature community awards

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN – The Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is inviting guests to its 66th annual banquet.

Set for Tuesday at Lu Mil Vineyard in Dublin, things will kick off at 6:30 p.m. with a social.

Dinner and the evening’s program will begin at 7 p.m., highlighted by guest speaker Kenny Flowers. The current assistant secretary of rural economic development for the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Flowers has served as assistant vice chancellor for community and regional development at East Carolina University, where he developed the ECU Rural Community Consortium and the Municipal Management and Innovation initiative. Earlier in his career, Flowers served as executive director of the N.C. Rural Development Council and as director of rural development with N.C. Commerce, a capacity in which he steered more than $80 million to local governments. The Anson County native has also worked at the N.C. General Assembly as a fiscal analyst and as a policy analyst for the city of Jacksonville, Fla.

Following Flowers’ program, the Chamber will present several awards to local residents.

“The recipients of the awards must be Chamber members — other than the Caring Person Award, which is given to someone in the community that we have noticed is doing an outstanding job, usually by volunteering their time,” said Dawn Maynard, executive director of the Chamber. “They often have no idea anyone even noticed their efforts.”

The town of Elizabethtown will be acknowledged as the Outstanding Chamber Member of the Year, followed by Susan and Ronald Inman – owners of Regal Resort and The Venue, both at White Lake – being recognized with the Outstanding Small Business Award.

Bladen Community College President William Findt will receive the Honorary Lifetime Chamber Member Award. Earlier this year, Findt announced his planned retirement, effective at the end of the year.

The award “is usually given to someone who has dedicated much time to the Chamber and served the community well,” Maynard said.

Chris Clark, Bladen County Board of Education member, will be the recipient of the Caring Person Award.

Tickets for the banquet are $25 per person, and guests do not need to be Chamber members to attend. RSVPs are due by June 18 and may be made by contacting Maynard by phone at 910-862-4368 or by email at

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing


Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal