NEW MARKET – The town’s Chamber of Commerce wined and dined its community last week as it honored people and businesses with its annual awards.

Edwin Newland, a 60-year resident of New Market, took home the chamber’s Citizen of the Year award to rousing applause.

“It was a humbling experience,” Newland said. I was sort of dazed a little bit. I was really taken aback when everyone in the room gave me a standing ovation. I didn’t quite expect that.”

Newland said he has poured countless hours into developing and helping the town grow. His projects and volunteer time have ranged from developing the community park to building and selling subdivisions in town. His parents started Southern Kitchen in 1955, and he built up his people skills in the restaurant — priming him for his real estate business, Home-Land Realty, which he still owns.

“I thrive on trying to get people into homes,” Newland said. “I’ve often said that if I couldn’t get a person into a home, I just wonder how anybody else could.”

Newland, now 78, said working is in his blood. He has no plans to step back from work, though he doesn’t work on Sundays anymore, he said, unless that is what a family needs to see a home.

Along with Newland’s award, the chamber also handed Jon Henry’s General Store the Business of the Year award; the fire and rescue department the Organization of the Year, and Amy Proctor, president of the chamber, gave her President’s Award to the New Market Police Department.

New Market Police Chief Chris Rinker said he was honored his department stood out.

“I don’t know that we’ve ever gotten the President’s Award,” Rinker said. “We’re definitely gonna post it up in the police department here. If citizens come by, they can see it. We’re proud to get it, and we appreciate their confidence in the police department.”

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