- Special Sections
- Public Notices
They were prepared to demand a recount.
Wanda Washington, Laura Wilds and Lynn Kearney gather behind the podium, waiting to hear who will receive this year’s Citizen of the Year award.
Campbellsville/Taylor County Chamber of Commerce gives that award, among others, each year to honor residents in the community. The awards were presented during the Chamber’s annual banquet on Thursday night.
Wilds and Washington told the crowd they were sure Kearney was going to win, so they prepared signs proclaiming “I Demand a Recount.”
Signs in hand, the women hug each other tight when Wilds is announced as this year’s winner.
Wilds told the crowd she thought she and Washington would surely need their signs.
In announcing the Citizen of the Year award winner, Chamber Board Member Angie Call said the award is one of the community’s highest honors.
The award was created in honor of former Chamber and tourism leader and chief community cheerleader, the late Everette Lee.
“This award recognizes individuals who have given substantially of their time, talent and leadership to make our community a better place,” Call said. Call said Washington, Wilds and Kearney all embody the qualities to be nominated for the award.
“This year’s recipient graduated from Taylor County High [School] and went to Eastern Kentucky University,” Call said. “This year’s recipient has demonstrated their commitment to community through their service to church, civic organizations and the community at large.”
Call said Wilds is involved in numerous organizations, from the Downtown Business Association and Campbellsville/Taylor County Tourism Board to being chair of the Taylor Regional Hospital Board.
She is also Sunday School superintendent at Campbellsville Christian Church and is a past Chamber president.
“She brings passion, dedication and empathy to all those different groups,” Call said.
Wilds is also owner of Mitchell’s Men╒s Wear on Main Street. She is married to Lloyd Wilds and has four children and five grandchildren.
In her very brief acceptance speech, Wilds said, “[I am] so thankful. So humbled. So blessed.”
On Friday, Wilds said she is still in shock that her peers chose her to receive the award.
“It’s a very overwhelming feeling,” she said.
Chamber members vote on the awards each year, with the exception of the Outstanding Chamber Investor winner.
Wilds said Washington and Kearney do so much for the Taylor County community that she knew one of them would receive the honor.
“I just don’t feel like I do what I really always should be doing,” she said.
“I think God expects us to give back and help others. I just try to do what my Bible tells me and what God expects of me.”
Wilds said community service is important to her, and it should be to others, too.
“Our community will be a better place when people step up to the plate and do for others,” she said.
Wilds said she has received help from others and tries to give back when she can.
“I’m just so blessed to be a part of this wonderful town,” she said.
Wilds said her church and downtown family mean a lot to her. “We’re in a small town, but it’s gonna be better when we take care of each other.”
Chris Kidwell, outgoing president, told the crowd at the banquet the Chamber boasts more than 300 members, with 20 businesses joining in the past year.
He said the Chamber now has a website, www.campbellsvillechamber.com, and its office will move to the former Taylor County Public Library building on North Columbia Avenue in July.
The library moved to East Broadway and its former building is being renovated into the Campbellsville Civic Center.
David Alan Newton is incoming Chamber president.
New Chamber directors are Terri Cassell, David Chewning, Scott Hord and Nancy Turpin.
She said it is her goal to make it easier for Kentucky’s businesses to work with state government.
And since taking office, she has worked to deliver that campaign promise.
Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes spoke to Chamber members about her office and what she does as secretary of state.
Grimes said she is the youngest secretary of state in the nation and the only female representative serving in a constitutional officer in Kentucky.
She said Taylor County residents contributed greatly to her campaign and she thanks the community for that.
Grimes, who took office in January 2012, said the secretary of state serves as the state’s chief election officer, is the state’s chief advocate for civic engagement and is also the chief business officer for all businesses in Kentucky.
When running for office, Grimes said, two of her goals were to grow the economy and help small businesses by making sure business laws are streamlined.
“That when we say Kentucky is open for business, we mean it,” she said.
Grimes said her office has worked to simplify the process of filing occupational tax forms and get businesses one identifying number to speed up the process of completing numerous annual reports business owners must file. Kentucky’s website www.onestop.ky.gov helps business owners file forms online, Grimes said, which helps the business run more efficiently.
She said embracing technology is very important and can help businesses thrive, save time and money and perhaps hire more people.
Grimes said legislators addressed many important issues during the last regular session, but more work needs to be done.
She said legislators addressed laws that will help farmers and ensure veterans serving overseas are given the opportunity to vote.
“Farming, it keeps Kentucky literally growing,” she said.
And farmers now have a new tax incentive available to them, Grimes said, after a bill was passed and made law that allows a tax break for farmers who donate their produce to food banks.
“So that we can literally help Kentuckians feed Kentuckians,” she said.
Grimes said she was devastated to learn that about 300 ballots cast by veterans serving overseas weren’t received in time to be counted during the last general election. She said she decided then to promise that won’t happen again.
A bill passed this session, and subsequently signed by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and made law, creates a task force to study electronic military voting.
“It’s a good first step,” Grimes said. “It’s not, I hope, our last step.”
Overall, Grimes said, she is dedicated to helping the state’s businesses.
“It’s about businesses and government coming together and working together,” she said. “I’m convinced that when we work together, we will move this state forward.”
This is the first in a series of four stories about this year’s winners of the annual Campbellsville/Taylor County Chamber of Commerce awards.
This year’s winners are:
• Citizen of the Year - Laura Wilds
• Educator of the Year - Farrah Hord
• Business of the Year - Chandler’s Office Supply
• Outstanding Chamber Investor - Citizens Bank and Trust Co.