Local businesses, residents honored at 75th chamber gala

Area residents and businesses gathered at the Front Royal Holiday Inn Ballroom for the 75th annual Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce Gala Dinner and Awards on Friday night.

The gala awarded local businesses, community leaders and non-profit organizations for their services to the community as well as the county.

Kelley Miller, Chamber Board of Directors Chair and owner of New Look Kitchen and Bath, remarked at the top of the ceremony, “I think we can all see that the economy is changing, it’s changing and I think we’re towards positive things.”

Miller added, “One of the things that you learn being in business … is you have to be able to move and transition with the times.”

Mike O’Dell, of Edward Jones Financial Advisors, moderated the evening’s ceremony and awards presentation. The award-winners are the 75th gala were:

Public Safety Award — Kevin Douglas Catlett, Warren County Fire and Rescue

Kevin Douglas Catlett, formally an Administrative Officer of the Warren County Fire and Rescue, was awarded for his service after being reassigned to the position of operational office in 2013.

Catlett had to take on many responsibilities, including working a 24-hour shift and “mounting equipment and readying for service” the station’s new ladder trucks.

Upon receiving the award, Catlett said, “This was totally unexpected tonight, but again, thank ya’ll. Chief [Richard Mabie], thank you.”

Non-Profit of the Year — Samuels Public Library

During the presentation, the chamber noted that the library’s summer reading program “attracted 1,075 children” in 2014, with an expected increase expected in 2015.

It was also noted that a new library program, “1000 Books to Read Before Kindergarten,” saw an enrollment of 200 infants last winter.

Library director Nicki Lynch said, “I just wanted to say that there’s no way that we could have done this alone.”

Youth Services Supervisor Michal Ashby added, “This is just a fantastic group to work with and I want you to know that we’re going to continue this party tomorrow at the library.”

The library will be hosting its annual Taste for Books fundraiser at 6 p.m. tonight.

Education Contributor of the Year — Lord Fairfax Community College

Lord Fairfax Community College was noted for making “the county a better place” through its educational opportunities as well as its community collaborations.

It was also noted that, in terms of workforce, the community college helped 3,231 residents “complete coursework for industry or state licensure.”

Dr. Cheryl Thompson-Stacy, president of LFCC, said, “We appreciate so much our partnership with Warren County and we value our relationship with Warren County Public Schools.”

Entrepeneur of the Year — Billie Miller, Backroom Brewery

Backroom Brewery opened for business last spring as a “the first farm brewery in the northern Shenandoah Valley.”

The brewery is located at Clifton’s Sunflower Cottage farm in Front Royal, which is also an herb farm and garden center.

Billie Clifton, part owner and operator, said, “There’s so many people in this room that have been such a huge part of what we’ve been doing for the past two years.”

Business of the Year — CMB Mortgage

CMB is a start-up company that has been in Front Royal since 2005. At Friday’s ceremony, it was noted that CMB is heavily involved in the community, from sponsoring a Little League baseball team to participating in Toys for Tots.

CEO Cory Michael said, “Everything I do is for this county. This is where I was born and raised and this is what means the most to me.”

Citizen of the Year — Doug Stanley, Warren County Administrator

Doug Stanley was recognized for his 20 years of service in the county as well as the town of Front Royal. Stanley is the administrator for the Warren County Board of Supervisors as well as president of the Front Royal Rotary Club.

Stanley said, “Not anticipating this, but I certainly appreciate it. I appreciate this community and everything that goes on on a daily basis.”

Community Impact Award — Roy Boyles, Vice Chair of Warren County Public Schools

The chamber awarded Roy Boyles for his involvement and achievements as a member of the Warren County School Board, among many other facets including being President of the Virginia School Boards Association.

Boyles said, “I know I’ve been able to serve with many of you in this room for a number of years, on a lot of the different things that we’re that we’re passionate about.

“Together, we’re making our community a better place to live, work a play.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com