Civic engagement highlighted with 2024 Montevallo Community Awards

Published 11:18 am Monday, July 8, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – The Montevallo Chamber of Commerce held another entry in its long-running Montevallo Community Awards series last month on Thursday, June 20.

This year’s ceremony was held at the American Village and invited guests to the Liberty Hall Ballroom for an evening of recognition and celebration.

“It was a fun up-scaled event featuring live big-band music by The Swing Kings in observance of the Montevallo Chamber celebrating their 75th Anniversary,” Montevallo Chamber Executive Director Adele Nelson said. “The Montevallo Chamber was established in 1949 and records show that 2024 was the 46th annual Montevallo Community Awards, dating back to 1978.”

Among the numerous awards presented over the course of the evening were the esteemed, Citizen of the Year, Civic Leader of the Year and the 2024 Business Hall of Fame inductees. Continuing another tradition, retired radio personality and community contributor “Dollar” Bill Lawson again returned to serve as emcee for evening’s events.

“Everything about tonight is positive,” Emcee Bill Lawson said “It’s a special event that I have been part of for over 30 years.”

The chamber presented the 2024 Citizen of the Year award to Denise “Dee” Woodham for her community service and extensive local interactions. Described as “Montevallo’s Ride of Die” by organizers of the event, Woodham was also credited for her steadfast approach and dedication to any project she is a part of and her consistent contributions to an ever-growing list of organizations.

That list of current and past involvement includes work with the Montevallo Historical Society, Shoal Creek Park Foundation, Shelby Emergency Assistance, Montevallo Water Board, Montevallo Main Street Economic Vitality Committee and the Montevallo City Council.

Woodham has also served as a founding member and chair of the Montevallo Development Cooperative District and has worked on the organization’s capital projects such as Owl’s Cove Park, Bicentennial Park, the downtown streetscape, the new Tavern location, the Highway 25 crossing and sidewalks and the University of Montevallo’s softball stadium.

Additionally, Woodham was described as being instrumental in the acquisition and preservation of the Mahler property and a major sponsor of the CO.STARTERS program.

Joseph “Joe” Williams was next to be recognized, with his reception of the Civic Leader of the Year award. Williams is known for his service to the Parnell Library Foundation—where he serves on the board and as head of the library’s Financial Committee. In that capacity, Williams routinely provides the library with financial advice, and aids in keeping track of committee budgets, foundation investments and all other things financial for the operation of the foundation.

Williams also serves as the finance chair and treasurer for University Baptist Church, where he has supplied his efforts for more than 20 years and overseen daily needs, grant applications and an expansion of the preschool from one classroom to two.

“He is also a huge supporter of Montevallo by assisting every year with the Montevallo Chamber Golf Tournament and he serves on the Tinglewood Festival Committee.” Nelson said. “Joe (has also) chaired the Advisory Council for the Boys and Girls Club for many years and goes above & beyond when it comes to fundraising.

Nelson further described Williams as an amazing parent and grandparent who is regularly seen at various community and school events supporting his granddaughter.

“He always makes an effort to ask how things are and then serves to fill any need that arises,” Nelson said.

Impact Montevallo Director Sarah Hogan also presented the Impact Montevallo Momentum Award to Montevallo High School Principal Steve Bromley.

“We appreciate the dedication of Mr. Bromley to this community, and it is an honor to present him with the Momentum Award, in recognition of his outstanding contributions and commitment to support initiatives and strategies to increase positive behaviors and lifelong success of Montevallo’s youth,” Hogan said.

Additionally, Suzanne Hurst with Blue Phrog Gallery, Dr. Thad Bamberg with Countryside Animal Hospital and John Roper with Huddle House Montevallo were inducted into the Montevallo Business Hall of Fame as the 2024 inductees.

Further awards that were presented throughout the evening included:

  • Kirk Lightfoot presented with the City of Montevallo Friend of Montevallo award
  • Becky Cox-Rodgers presented with the Montevallo Arts Collaborative Patron of the Arts award
  • Walt Czeskleba presented with the Montevallo Boys & Girls Club Partner of the Year award
  • Maggie Hall presented with the Montevallo Main Street Magic Maker award
  • Dr. Michael Anderson presented with the Montevallo Rotarian of the Year award
  • Mike Hardig presented with the Shelby Emergency Assistance Volunteer of the Year Award
  • Courtney Bennett presented with the University of Montevallo Good Neighbor Award