Tuesday, June 6, 2017

No one surprised by Person of Year

In Case You Missed This One in Last Week's Crittenden Press printed edition .....

No one in the room was surprised that former mayor Mickey Alexander was named Crittenden County Chamber of Commerce’s Person of the Year for 2017, except for the man himself.

Blushing with modesty and clearly caught off guard by his selection, Alexander showed rare emotion last Thursday in accepting his second Person of the Year honor.

Alexander retired as mayor in February after serving for 29 years as the town’s chief. He was first selected as Person of the Year in 1989, the first time the Chamber presented such an award.

Billed as a lifetime achievement honor, the Chamber’s Person of the Year almost always personifies the town’s spirit.

“I can truly say that I would not want to live anywhere else on earth,” Alexander said in accepting the award. “And I have to say that I couldn’t have done anything these last several years without the help of my wife Susan.”

Alexander said he was both greatly honored and humbled to have twice been selected for the Chamber’s most coveted honor.

Robin Curnel, a former Chamber president and last year’s recipient of the year’s top award, described Alexander as a great ambassador of the community who is continually positive and always has a smile on his face.

“The individual selected for this award always puts the community first and offers to do the often thankless jobs,” Curnel said.

Alexander, she pointed out, has been president of the Lions Club and helped form the local economic development corporation among other deeds that have been positive factors for Marion.

Brennan Cruce and Kathleen Guess were selected as Unsung Heroes. Cruce is a volunteer fireman, active in the historical society and heir apparent to Brenda Underdown as the community’s official historian. He was instrumental in helping to refurbish the old Marion City Cemetery on Gum Street a few years ago. Guess has developed a number of community-minded activities at the public library. She is both an educator and creator, having taught art at local schools and led academic teams. She led a group that created a large mural of the county which hangs inside the tourism center.

The City of Marion Tourism Commission was given the Community Pride Award, largely for its development of the new Imogene Stout Market on Main, a more than $200,000 farmers market project built largely through state grants.

Selected for the Community Service Award was Phillis Hardin of H&H Supply. She, too, was quite surprised and moved by emotion when her name was called.

“I don’t deserve this,” she said, but Chamber Director Madison Qualls disagreed.

“She is the perfect example of grace and kindness,” Qualls said when she presented Hardin with the award.

The Chamber chose one of its own as Volunteer of the Year, but it wasn’t solely her work with the Chamber that lifted Elizabeth Floyd to recognition. Manager of Legacy Oxygen and Home Care, Floyd has spearheaded a number of local projects. She is perhaps best known, however, for raising more than $23,000 for Project Graduation this year.