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A night in honor of local business
Chamber names top business, gives nod to importance of schools
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Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul T. Brooksher addresses addresses the banquet crowd as the events guest speaker. - photo by Crissie Elric

Business and community leaders, elected officials and many others celebrated another year of business in Richmond Hill, recognizing education as a major part of the equation for success Thursday during the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet.

During the event at the Richmond Hill City Center, the organization also named its Business of the Year and Ambassador of the Year for 2012 and more.

Carol Brodgon and Karen Guither with Lavender Hill Spa Salon, the recipient of the chamber’s 2011 Business of the Year award, introduced the operation that took home the award for 2012.

“In June of 2009, three individuals followed their passion and brought a much needed service to Richmond Hill,” Guither told the crowd. “For their dedication of the health and well-being of our community and their continued effort to grow by bringing more services to Richmond Hill, the Richmond Hill Bryan County Chamber of Commerce is proud to name Urgent Care Center of Richmond Hill as the 2012 Business of the Year.”

Dr. Lori Gaylor, Dr. Bob Mazur and Dr. Catherine Grant, the founders of Urgent Care Center, said they were not expecting the award.

“We are very surprised and honored that the community would select us for such a wonderful award,” Grant said after the event. “We continue to give back to the community and focus on the needs of the community and try to respond to those and take great care of every single person that comes in our clinic.”

Gaylor said she was very thankful to live, work and raise her family in Richmond Hill.

“All I can think of is how lucky we are that we get to get up every single day and do something we love with people we enjoy,” she said. “We get to take care of our friends and our neighbors, and we don’t have to drive to Savannah to do it.
“We’re just really excited, we’re happy and we just want to thank everyone who gave us this award and thank our community and everyone who believed in us and supported us when we started this project.”

Mazur echoed Gaylor and Grant’s comments.

“We’re pretty happy. We all work hard and it’s nice to be recognized,” he said. “You know obviously we don’t do it to be recognized, but (Gaylor) works really hard, and I’m so happy for her and the other partner (Grant). Working that hard and then getting recognized in front of all our friends and family, that’s a very nice thing.”

Outgoing chairman John Reynolds also took some time to recognize some of the Chamber’s achievements throughout the year and recognized some of the group’s most active members.

Ray Pittman, Brad Brookshire and Shirley Heagerty were recognized as retiring board members. Heagerty announced the chamber’s Ambassador of the Year award, which went to Nicole Carnes.

Following the announcements, Rich DeLong, executive director of the Suites at Station Exchange, the event’s title sponsor, introduced keynote speaker Dr. Paul Brooksher, superintendent of Bryan County Schools.

“I couldn’t think of a better speaker to have at your chamber event than a person who is in charge of keeping these schools the best they can be because I can tell you right now without good schools, you can forget about your economy,” DeLong said.

Brooksher, who took the reins of the system in June, spoke about the current state of the county’s schools, which was noted as a major hub of the community’s success by many at the event.

“I truly believe a quality community is built on the foundation of an excellent school system,” Brooksher told the crowd of more than 100. “Families want to live in a community where parents can send their children to school, and businesses relocate to communities where there are great schools so their employees will want to live there.”

His presentation included many facts about Bryan County Schools, ranging from improved test scores and growth to new schools, bus routes and more Brooksher also explained how the school system operates as a “big business” in the community.

Read more in the Jan. 19 edition of the News.

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