Sunday, May 15, 2016

Curnel Chamber's Person of Year

Among those recognized by the Crittenden County Chamber
of Commerce last week were (from left) Eddie King,
Melanie Lloyd, Robin Curnel, Kathey Penn Belt
and Natalie Parish.
From The Crittenden Press, May 5, 2016 Issue

A nurse who’s devoted her professional life to the local hospital and her spare time to volunteer work, largely with children’s and civic groups, was named Person of the Year last week by the Crittenden County Chamber of Commerce.

Robin Curnel, a native of Graves County who has called Marion her home for more than 20 years, was humbled and a bit emotional following her recognition during the Chamber’s annual awards banquet last Thursday at the Marion Ed-Tech Center.

“This is certainly something I never expected,” Curnel said.

She is the outgoing Chamber president having served two terms at the post. Curnel is by day the chief nursing operations officer at Crittenden Health Systems where she’s spent the vast majority of her 21-year nursing career.

A member of the PTO, park board and youth sports organizations, Curnel has devoted much her volunteer work to children for which she’s always had a soft spot in her heart. She was originally an obstetrics nurse and counts among her greatest blessings her two children.

A self-professed farm girl and NASCAR fan, Curnel will remain as a Chamber director through 2017 as past-president.

Others honored by the Chamber of Commerce were owner Eddie King and the Heritage Golf Course at Marion Country Club, Conrad’s employee Melanie Lloyd, Pennyrile Allied Community Services Crittenden County Director Kathey Penn Belt and Relay for Life Chairperson Natalie Parish.

The Chamber named Parish Volunteer of the Year for her work with the American Cancer Society’s biggest fundraising event and her volunteer work with the Crittenden County Lions Club. Parish, the community’s first female member of the Lions Club, is co-chair of the county fair and directs the fair pageants. She was also the Lions Club Lion of the Year for 2015.

Parish lives in the Caldwell Springs community with her family, which has a large farming operation. She serves a director for the Caldwell Springs Volunteer Fire Department, School Advisory Council and the county food bank.

Lloyd, who works as a shift manager at the service desk and checkout line at Conrad’s Food Store, was recognized with the Chamber’s Customer Service Award. Lloyd’s high-energy, bubbly persona has been a regular fixture at the grocery store for the last six years. She is a native of California who moved to Crittenden County 11 years ago.

Belt was awarded the Chamber’s Unsung Hero Award for her tireless dedication to the less fortunate in the community. As director of the PACS in Crittenden County, she oversees a number of low-income programs that affect thousands of people, including free food distribution, clothes closet and winter heating and summer cooling assistance and more.

Much of her time is spent teaching community classes to help people learn how to cook, sew, apply for college grants, garden and find other types of assistance.

“When I took this position, I vowed to make a difference in my community,” Belt said.

The Chamber agrees that she has indeed done just that.

For its renovations over the last year or so, the country club was selected for the Chamber’s Community Pride Award. The club was purchased by King less than two years ago and he and his staff have made great strides at improving its appearance and benefit to the community. King grew up in this area, but has become a successful California businessman. He now spends part of his time here and part of it on the West Coast.

Mayor Mickey Alexander said a country club is an asset to any community because of its offerings of swimming, dining and golf. He said King never forgot his roots and has been a key figure in reinvigorating interest in the semi-private club in Marion.

The Chamber also installed its new officers for 2016-17. They are Randa Berry, president; Angel Henry, vice-president; and Todd Perryman, treasurer. New board members were also sworn at the annual meeting. They are Madison Qualls, Chris Evans, Dee Brasher and Marilyn Belt, who was not present.