On Tuesday, Jan. 18, the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual Awards and Installation Banquet followed by the Annual Meeting at the Tartan Hall of the First Presbyterian Church. At the banquet, numerous citizens and local organization were recognized for their contributions to the community in the past year.
The prestigious Citizen of the Year award went to Rhonda Blanton. County Commission Chairman Ronnie Beale who introduced the award said that while Blanton prefers not to be in the spotlight she was well deserving of this year’s award.
“This is one of the special people in our community who goes above and beyond in whatever tasks they embark on, whether it be in their job, community or just making others look good,” Beale said.
Blanton, who has worked with Healthy Carolinians of Macon County for the past 10 years, also serves as secretary for both the Franklin High Boosters Club and the Franklin Youth Tennis Association. A native of Macon County and a graduate of Franklin High School, Blanton went on to study at Western Carolina University. She is married and has one son.
Beale said he has witnessed Blanton’s committment and energy firsthand, both in her work with the Mental Health Task Force and as a member of the Complete Count Committee which spearheaded the county’s efforts in the 2010 Census. Blanton was also recognized for her work in organizing a special ceremony honoring the county’s World War II veterans which took place before an FHS home football game in the fall. Beale described the ceremony as one which “would never be forgotten” by the veterans who were able to attend.
Other awards handed at the Chamber banquet included the Past President’s plaque presented to Connie Grubermann by incoming president Dale West. Chris Brouwer of Edward Jones Financial Advisors received the Chamber Member of the Year award, presented by Rachel Hoskins. The Folk Heritage Association of Macon County received the Organization of the Year award, presented by school board member Gary Shields. Architect Tom Ritter received the Duke Energy Citizenship & Service Award, presented by Fred Alexander of Duke Energy and Jim Breedlove of United Community Bank.
Local musician Ronnie Evans provided entertainment for the banquet which was catered by Grubermann who also owns the Oak Hill Country Inn.