Who was recognized at the South Shelby Chamber’s Diamond Awards?

Published 6:00 pm Friday, January 12, 2018

COLUMBIANA –Individuals and groups throughout the county were recognized for their work throughout 2017 at the South Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Diamond Awards luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 11 at the Columbiana First Baptist Church.

The event served to honor residents, businesses and nonprofits who had been nominated for five categories: Business of the Year, New Business of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year, Public Servant of the Year and Citizen of the Year.

“We want to begin the year by looking back at 2017 and the tremendous work that took place,” South Shelby Chamber Executive Director April Stone said. “We will hear the stories of organizations and people from all over Shelby County that are making an impact on their communities and this county as a whole.”

St. Vincent’s One Nineteen Health and Wellness of Hoover was named as the 2017 Business of the Year. The person who nominated St. Vincent’s One Nineteen commended its partnership with local schools and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation, which has helped their son, Kyle.

“St. Vincent’s One Nineteen started this journey with Kyle when he was 16. He is now 18 and a senior at OMHS. Ms. Gardner and her staff at One Nineteen have supported and encouraged Kyle every step of the way,” the nomination read. “Kyle has severe challenges to overcome, but because of their commitment to Kyle’s goals toward independence, he has achieved skills and communication far beyond the expectations of many people who know him well.”

Other businesses who were nominated for the Business of the year Award include Seventh Heaven of Columbiana, Simply Infused of Birmingham, Mundy Motors of Columbiana, Shelby Baptist Medical Center of Alabaster, Napa Auto Parts of Columbiana and Douglas Built, LLC of Vincent.

Buff City Soap Company of Birmingham, which was named as the 2017 New Business of the Year, was noted for the high quality of the ingredients used in its products.

“Unlike commercial soap products, Buff City products are free of paraben, phthalate and detergent,” the nomination read. “The soaps ae exclusively plant-based and made with coconut, palm and olive oils.”

Clint Neville Farmer’s Insurance of Helena and Columbiana Tractor were also nominated for New Business of the Year.

In the Nonprofit of the Year Category, based out of Pelham, was announced the winner. The person who nominated the Arc of Shelby County said the organization’s outreach programs and ability to serve a high number of people is an asset to the community.

“The Arc of Shelby County was founded in 1974 and, since that time, has continued to grow to meet the needs of our community,” the nomination read. “2017 was an incredible year of growth for the Arc of Shelby County, as all three programs, Early Intervention, Employment and Community Living, saw unprecedented growth. In 2017, the Arc of Shelby county served 1,543 individuals–a 50 percent increase over 500 individuals over 2016.”

My Sister’s Place of Montevallo and Heavenly Smiles of Chelsea were also contenders for the Nonprofit of the Year Award.

Due to his work as the Shelby County Property Tax Commissioner, Don Armstrong was honored as the 2017 Public Servant of the Year. According to his nomination, the Property Tax Commissioner’s Office under Armstrong’s has served as a model for similar offices across the Southeast.

“Don was the driving force in moving the Property Tax Commissioner’s Office to the next level of our customer service,” his nomination read. “Our office has had visitors from Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida and other counties across the state of Alabama to view our CAMA system.”

The other nominees, Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce CEO Kirk Mancer, Robyn James from the Middle Alabama Agency on Aging, Shelby County Board of Education Member Peg Hill, Vincent City Council member Bridgette Smith, Westover City Council member Jay Crisman and all members of the Chelsea Citizen Observer Patrol, were also honored for their contributions to the county.

Lastly, 94-year-old Frances “Skeet” Phelps, who was nominated by her fellow Wilsonville residents, was named as the 2017 Citizen of the Year. Phelps was referred to as “a ‘Jill of all trades,'” who served as Wilsonville’s first female mayor in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She is also a U.S. Navy veteran and an active member of the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature.

“There is nothing this woman will not attempt and, more often than not, be successful at,” her nomination read.

Phelps said she was born in 1922 as the youngest of three siblings, and moved to Wilsonville as a child.  Phelps graduated from Shelby County High School and attended Alabama College for Women, which is now known as the University of Montevallo, before leaving mid-term to join the Navy. She returned to Wilsonville in 1977, and has since been heavily involved with the community.

“I think the most important thing I do is work in the Wilsonville Methodist Church,” Phelps said.

Along with Phelps, nominees Shawn Callahan and Jason Spinks were also honored for their work with a program for terminally ill children.

Additionally, Vicki Everett of Juice Plus was named as the Chamber’s 2017 Ambassador of the Year. Without the work of Everett and all other Chamber members, Stone said hosting events like the Diamond Awards would not be possible.

Stone said the South Shelby Chamber is proud of each nominee, and hearing each story was a testament to the quality of the residents, businesses and nonprofits in the area.

“This just affirms what we already know,” Stone said. “There’s tremendous work going on in Shelby County.”