Pocahontas Chamber of Commerce celebrates Individual and Business accomplishments
Cool temperatures and the lingering remnants of a recent snowstorm couldn’t dampen the spirits of those gathered at the Pocahontas Opera House on Thursday March 16th for the annual Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce dinner. Following a social hour with music by Jake Krack and dinner, Chamber President Bill Jordan got down to business to announce the winner of the 2016 Individual of the Year Community Involvement Award – Cara Rose, Executive Director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Jordan described Rose as a visionary and spoke of her involvement in bringing a whole new tourism initiative to the region, the Mountain Music Trail. He also spoke about her work with the next generation of tourism professionals.
“Not only is she dedicated to fostering new ideas in hospitality, she’s also highly invested in the future of our community, a future that lies in the youth minds of local students,” he said. “She worked with the high school and Board of Education officers to start a Tourism Club at Pocahontas County high school. Today the club has over 30 students. The club promises year after year, to be even bigger and brighter.”
Rose, who was visibly surprised by the selection, kept her speech short and simply thanked everyone for the honor.
Chamber Vice President Ben Wilfong had the honors of presenting the 2016 Business of the Year Community Involvement Award. He spoke about some of the qualities that make this year’s winner stand out.
“A group of local businesses that encourage local development in the collective force of this company, have impacted the overall economy for the area,” said Wilfong. “These businesses have helped improve the living standards with locally sourced options that offer lower prices and help form a sense of community due to localization of products. In addition to being in business, they are very active within the community. It is my great honor to award the 2016 Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce Businesses [of the] Year Award to the Meck family.”
Jacob Meck offered his thanks and gratitude for the honor.
“I was kind of collecting my thoughts from maybe somewhat of a very difficult business week,” he said. “Some days you wonder if we’re really worth an award, and there are struggles and business is difficult, but Melinda and I are excited about business and excited about promoting business in the county and surrounding areas. Thank you very much.”
The guest speaker for the Chamber dinner was Andrew Hagy, Executive Director for the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation. Hagy has only been in the job for a little over 2 months, but says he’s impressed with the businesses aligned with the corporation.
“GVEDC also wants to attract new jobs and investors to Pocahontas County and Greenbrier Valley,” said Hagy. “But first we must take a step back and look at who are we – who is Pocahontas County – who is Greenbrier? Well, on April the 19th, we will be addressing these questions at our first strategic planning and development community meeting and everyone is invited.”
Hagy also spoke about plans to develop a new Greenbrier Valley economic development website that will serve as a digital “front door” to Pocahontas and the Greenbrier Valley. He said he feels a closeness to Pocahontas and not just because he proposed to his wife of 31 years at Snowshoe.
“Not only am I a native of a rural coal mining County in rural western Virginia, a majority of my professional economic development background experience encompasses working with rural communities. I am excited to be working with Pocahontas County.”