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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thayer Chamber holds awards ceremony

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dr. Brett Garrison and his mom, received the "Citizen of the Year" award posthumously, for this years honoree, the late Bill Garrison.
Bob Eckman presented LaRee Rees the Chamber of Commerce 2011 award for "Volunteer of the year."
The annual Thayer Chamber of Commerce banquet on June 20 was marked by two emotional tributes -- one to an "angelic" nurse and the other to a "quiet, dedicated" man.

The chamber awarded its Citizen of the Year award posthumously to former member William "Bill" Garrison, who died May 16.

Two new chamber awards -- Hero of the Year and Volunteer of the Year -- went to Oregon County Health Department nurse Terri Wrenfrow and chamber secretary LaRee Rees, respectively.

Lisa Cates presenting Terri Wrenfrow the Chamber's first time award for "Community Hero."
Garrison's wife, Betty and son, Brent, accepted the award on Garrison's behalf.

Vice president Lynn Hobbs presented the award, first outlining Garrison's contributions to the community.

"One of his greatest achievements was building Thayer Elementary School in 2003," Hobbs said.

Hobbs said she admired Garrison most when he was working in the Rotary Community Garden. If the soil was wet from gardeners watering their plots, Garrison would take off his shoes and go barefoot, she said.

Garrison, who lived near Myrtle and died at age 69 of a brain tumor, was active in several organizations, including the board of St. Paul United Methodist Church, the Rotary and chamber. He served as superintendent of three school districts, Oak Ridge Central, Couch and Thayer, retiring from Thayer in 2007.

"He was a quiet, determined, focused worker ... who set high examples," Hobbs said.

Bob Eckman presented the volunteer award to Rees, a Thayer Bank employee and active chamber worker.

As Eckman began reading his description of every task that Rees helps with, from cleaning the caboose at the Visitor's Center to making flyers for chamber events, everyone in the room immediately looked over at Rees.

Deciding who should be named as the volunteer was "not only clear, but crystal clear," Eckman said.

The chamber created the award designation this year, along with the other new award, Hero of the Year, which was the second emotional tribute of the night as Lisa Cates read her tribute to Wrenfrow.

Selecting Wrenfrow as the first recipient of the new award was also an extremely easy decision, Cates said.

"Some people are more angel-like than people-like," Cates said of Wrenfrow, who was accompanied by her husband, Dan Wrenfrow, manager of Harp's in Thayer.

Terri Wrenfrow goes "above and beyond" to help anyone, without every judging them, Cates said.

"There are not enough words to say" how much she gives to the community," Cates said.

The two-hour event also included a slide show by Regina Caldwell, Thayer Community Betterment Association project coordinator.

Caldwell said the group is working now to organize volunteer projects for area youth, such as cleaning up Warm Fork park and raising money to add fixtures at the city pool.

Larry Forschler, president of the Thayer Development Company, gave an oral history of the former Puritan Fashions factory that employed 450 workers at its peak in the 1970s.

Forschler's father, Carl Forschler, was one of the founding members of the development corporation, which owned the building.

The banquet, held at Steve's Old School Bakery in Thayer, included a chicken dinner prepared by owner Steve Higginbotham and awarding of door prizes.

The next chamber activity will be at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 23, at the Chamber of Commerce sign near Dairy Queen for cleanup night will be heard.

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