Friday, February 08, 2013

TOP STORY >> Chamber honors seven

Leader staff writer

The Sherwood Chamber of Commerce honored six people and one business at its annual banquet Thursday night at the Sherwood Forest complex.

More than 200 people attended the dinner and applauded as the educator, firefighter, EMT, police officer, man and woman of the year were announced and introduced along with the business of the year.

The Man of the Year honor went to Don Hughes. Marcia Cook, the chamber’s executive director, said Hughes sincerely cares about Sherwood and puts his love for the city into action.

“You can find him out Monday through Friday doing something for the community. It might be delivering food to those in need, setting up doctor’s appointments, picking up trash or distributing coats,” Cook said.

A retired Air Force veteran, Hughes is a founding member of the Gravel Ridge Lion’s Club and very active in the Keep Sherwood Beautiful organization.

The Woman of the Year award went to Dawn Darter, the golf pro at the city-operated golf course, The Greens. She was honored for outstanding work and efforts to promote the golf course and work with young golfers.

Darter first pick up clubs as a six-year-old on the same golf course she now works at, went to college on a golf scholarship, turned pro, worked with young golfers across the country and state, and returned home when the city took control of the golf course.

The firefighter and EMT of the year were honored for their outstanding actions at the same event.

The Firefighter of the Year honor went to Sherwood Fire Chief David Teague and the EMT award went to paramedic Matt Davis.

On Aug. 27, Chief Teague was attending a very crowded council meeting where an older man passionately pleaded with the council over an issue and then sat down.

A minute later, he had slumped to the floor in full cardiac arrest. The chief, along with a nurse in the crowd, rushed to give aid, including CPR, and called for the paramedics. As soon as a police officer arrived with a portable defibrillator, the chief used it to shock the patient twice.

By the time the ambulance arrived, just a few short minutes later, the individual was alert and talking.

In the ambulance was Davis, who had just earned his paramedic license a week earlier. Davis, a 16-year veteran of the Army National Guard, had already alerted the hospital in advance and immediately hooked up a 12-lead EKG machine to the patient. The readings helped determine that there was no time to spare. He needed to go to the cath lab immediately.

Cook said, “Because of Chief Teague and Matt Davis the patient survived and has resumed a normal quality of life.”

The Educator of the Year award went to Abundant Life High School English teacher Lori Williford.

In presenting the award, Judge Butch Hale said in the 13 years that Williford has been at the school her students have consistently scored well above the ACT average and won numerous poetry awards.

“The number of her students taking AP classes for college credit is far above the state average,” Hale said.

Williford is also the producer of the school’s plays and is active in numerous community projects.

Berny Russell, who has been a Sherwood police officer since 1988, took the top cop award. Hale said Russell has the ability to do any job the department asks her to do and can be seen everywhere in Sherwood.

She runs the drug take back program, the Fourth of July program and polices the Trail of Lights for the city. Hale said she is a mentor and participates in Cops for Kids and the Sherwood Police academy.

“She is involved in so many Sherwood organizations, it’s hard to keep track,” Hale said.

The Business of the Year award went to a relative newcomer to the city, BJ’s Plants and Produce.

The longtime family-owned area business opened up a shop in Sherwood and instantly became involved with community activities, particularly the Farmer’s Market.

According to Cook, the business believes that to be part of the community you can’t just run the cash register during the day and then go home.

The guest speaker for the evening was Mark Wilcken, a producer for AETN.

At the end of the evening, outgoing chamber president Steve Cobb passed the gavel to the incoming chamber leader, Jessica Rodgers.