South Shelby Chamber of Commerce gives Diamond Awards

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce Diamond Awards were held on Dec. 1 at the American Village in Montevallo.

Liz Huntley, author and motivational speaker, shared her life story of overcoming difficult circumstances to reach her potential.

Huntley rose above those circumstances and now gives back by advocating for children and education. Her motivational story focuses on providing a nurturing place for those who are hurting.

One person who exhibits the love and service Huntley advocates for is Jane Scott, who was awarded Citizen of The Year at the ceremony.

“I was very pleasantly surprised and feel very honored,” Scott said. “So many people do service projects in our county. Being nominated was an honor.”

Scott serves as a volunteer in the Hannah Home Auxiliary, where she helps provide care for women who are homeless or fleeing abusive situations. She started volunteering in 2009 while she worked as a bank manager.

In 2014, her job was dissolved and she started working more frequently with the Hannah Home. Scott said she values this time and sees it as an opportunity to invest in others.

“It’s been an awesome experience and a labor of love. It doesn’t feel like work to me,” Scott said. “Serving while searching for a job, it’s like God gave me the opportunity to serve more because I had time.”

Scott works one-on-one with the women at the home, teaching them the right skills to make the next steps in their lives.

“I know them, and they know me. We’ve gotten close,” Scott said.

Scott also leads a women’s small group at Church of the Highlands, where she encourages women to experience spiritual freedom. She said she is open about her faith and encourages women to grow themselves as individuals in that regard.

“I feel that sometimes, what you help make happen for others, God will make happen for you,” Scott said.

Highlighted awards from the ceremony include Business of the Year for Candlewood Suites of Alabaster, New Business of the Year for Tin Top BBQ of Columbiana, Non-Profit of the Year for Backpack Buddies, Public Servant of the Year for S. Earl Niven Sr. and Ambassador of the Year for Russell Scruggs.