'Citizen of Year' award recipient shares it with others

By Bob Robinson
Star Staff

   Mayor Sam LaPorte accepted the 2001 Citizen of the Year Award yesterday, after a standing ovation, and immediately shared the award with others who have helped him in community service.
   The award was presented at the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce 66th Annual Membership Meeting at Sycamore Shoals State Park.
   "I've been more like a lightning rod than Citizen of the Year," he said in accepting the prestigious award which was also presented to his late father, Joe LaPorte Jr., in 1988.
   "I would like to thank my family, my brothers, wife, children, mother and father. They raised us right."
   After pausing briefly, to gain his composure following an emotional moment, and receiving a round of applause, Mayor LaPorte said "Pappa Joe taught us if you thought you could do something better, go do it. Go out and be involved. I would like to thank him, too, for this award."
   Robert Reedy of Reedy & Sykes Architecture and Design was installed chamber president for 2002.
   Reedy took the helm of the 400-member organization from Herb Roberts, superintendent of Sycamore Shoals State Park.
   Before passing the gavel to the incoming president, Roberts recognized Elizabeth McPherson of McPherson Environmental Services for "exceptional support" of the chamber's program of work during his presidency.
   In accepting the chamber presidency, Reedy said he welcomed the opportunity for a fresh start, in lieu of last year's economic downturn and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks which exacerbated the problem.
   Reedy also announced a concerted effort to work with existing industry in Elizabethton and Carter County to identify and try to resolve any local business problems they might be experiencing.
   "Members of the Existing Industry Committee, along with a representative of the State Department of Economic Development, will be visiting each of them soon," Reedy said.
   He also announced that the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce will host a consortium of chamber representatives from 17 counties and 51 cities in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
   The group will be meeting at the Carter County Health Center, Truman Clark Annex, from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, "to discuss people, places, recreation, jobs and government," Reedy said.
   Barbara Treadway, executive director of the chamber, presented a plaque and scrapbook to Roberts.
   Jim Pierce, former executive director of the chamber, served as master of ceremonies.
   In addition to Reedy and Roberts, members of the chamber executive committee are Duncan Street, president-elect; Joe LaPorte III, treasurer; Scott Williams, business development; Carol Chase, communications/marketing; Pat Holtsclaw, community development; Kathy Pierce, leadership development; Don Tetrick, legislative development; Kelly Geagley, membership development and services; Cleo Reed, tourism development; and Tom Franklin, workforce/education.
   Directors are Curt Alexander, Judy Blevins, Brent Dugger, Mike Freeman, Bobby Lyons, Elizabeth McPherson, Heather Mills-McLeod, Margaret Moses, Gary Nave, Charles Robinson, Larry Rose, Tony Street, John Wagner and Keith Young.
   In addition to Treadway, members of the chamber staff are Larry Gobble, tourism director; Robin Lowe, administrative assistant; and Tina Whittington, receptionist.