Members of the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce gathered recently at JoDanni’s Amore for their
15th annual awards banquet. 

Following the meal they heard encouraging words from Chamber president Ruth Loveless and listened to a fun presentation by a guest speaker Terry Todt of WSMI radio station.

Then the 2014 Chamber Business of the Year award was presented to a surprised Jessica Ely, owner of the State Farm Insurance office of Gillespie.  Ely, who has been with State Farm for 25 years and in Gillespie for seven years, said that coming to the community has been a good move for her and her family.  She was thankful to many people of the community including her policy holders. She stated that a large part of being an insurance agent is listening to people and helping them find a solution.

In her presentation, Chamber President Ruth Loveless told the listeners that the Chamber is growing.  There are 51 registered businesses in Gillespie, 22 in Benld, 10 in Mt. Clare, 8 in Dorchester, 2 in Wilsonville, and 1 in Sawyerville.  None were registered in Eagarville, but several business owners live there.

Loveless concluded that “This community has potential.   We have something to work with.  All we need is to do something!”  Loveless sees opportunities in using Facebook for your business, and spoke about the Blue Carpet Corridor weekend coming in June 2015 and the 11th Annual Summer Concert Series.  She urged, “Get involved and do something!”

WSMI’s Terry Todt, who has been in broadcast for 37 years talked about working together to reach a common goal.  In the lighthearted manner for which he is known, he poked fun at himself telling about some of the mistakes in words or pronunciations that he has made over the years, revealing that some day he would like to write a book, “Stupid Things Radio Announcers Say.” He urged the audience to watch what they say, how they say it and to work together for a better community.

The Coal Country Chamber of Commerce executive board is encouraging the community to contact them with questions and ideas on how to improve the community.