Chamber announces award nominations

December 28, 2018

By Tesa Glass

MT. VERNON — The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce has announced it is now accepting nomination applications for Citizen of the Year, Small Business Person of the Year, and Young Professional of the Year as well as student scholarships and teacher grants.

“Anytime you can recognize the leaders and outstanding people in the community, it’s important,” said Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mike Beard. “Our business community is alive and well. These awards are just one way to showcase the people who are making #jeffersoncountystrong.”

Beard said he looks forward to reviewing the award nominations, and especially the applications for teachers grants and student scholarships.

“It’s so neat to hear about all these people and find out about the quality of students and teachers in the community,” Beard said. “We wish we could give more. We are seeking donations right now for the teacher grants and the scholarships. We will give away all that we raise. If we could raise $10,000, we would do more and use it for teacher grants and scholarships.”

The Citizen of the Year Award is presented annually to a Jefferson County resident who demonstrates a passion for their county through community service, volunteer work and leadership. The person chosen for the award does not have to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Some of the questions which will be used to determine the recipient are why they think the candidate deserves the award, what are their community service and civic activities, how have they made Jefferson County stronger, how have they shown strong leadership and what they done to promote local enterprise.

The Small Business Person of the Year must reside in Jefferson County and not be running for or in public office. They must be a member of the Chamber, own or hold an upper management position in a business with 200 or fewer employees. The business must be a for-profit entity, a non-governmental entity, been in the community for 10 or more years. The nominees will be judge on whether they have staying power in the community, how they have demonstrated steady growth, how they transitioned their business to meet the needs of customers, how they have shown they are innovative and create unique business opportunities. Additionally, the nominees should be those who contribute to the community through service organizations, civic and governmental service, youth groups or social organizations.

The Young Professional of the Year Award was created to help create and recognize young professionals in the community.

“We feel that recognizing the bright, driven young visionaries in our community is important,” information states. “The award is intended to honor young professionals, ages 21 to 40, who go above and beyond with their performance in the workplace and community.”

Applications for nominations ask how the nominee has advanced their occupation since beginning their career, how they are an important asset to their company, and how they are involved in the community.

The Student of the Year and Classroom Grants are opportunities offered through the Education Clearinghouse Committee of the Chamber. Each year, two students — one from Mt. Vernon Township High School and one from one of the three county high schools — receive a $1,000 scholarship. The nominee must be a student and attend a school which is a member of the Chamber. The award is solely based on merit and judged based on leadership/values, service to the community, scholarship, career goals and an essay. Nominations must be received by Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 to be considered.

The Classroom Grant program provides monetary awards to teachers to allow them to enhance classroom instruction. A total of $5,000 is presented for six teacher grants and two $1,000 scholarships. Any certified teacher at a Jefferson County school can apply if they teach at a school that is a member of the Chamber. Only one application per teacher or teaching team may be submitted. Teachers who are also members of the Educational Clearinghouse may apply. Applications may duplicate an application made to another grant program. However, if funding for a project is secured through a duplicate application prior to the awarding of the Chamber grants, teachers are asked to notify the Chamber and withdraw their application.

Applications for all the awards are available online at and clicking on the Annual Awards link. Additional information is available by calling the Chamber office at 242-5725.