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Business celebration

Chamber of Commerce to hold Annual Meeting on Thursday

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Annual Meeting

The Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce’s celebration of the business community will highlight the best of what Greenwood has to offer — from food to businesses to people.

“It’s just a celebration of everything that is good about our community,” said Beth Stevens, the chamber’s executive director. “I always look forward to this event every year. It’s a fresh start and a great way to start 2019. ... The chamber does so much good for this community, and this event is one way to get a glimpse into that impact.”

The chamber’s annual meeting will be held on Thursday and will kick off the organization’s 102nd year.

The event will be held at the Leflore County Civic Center and will begin at 5:30 p.m. with its Business Expo, Social Hour & Taste of Greenwood.

The annual meeting’s program will begin at 6:45 p.m. and will feature an awards presentation to the Small Business of the Year, Big Business of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Community Pride Award and Young Professional of the Year.

The meeting will also include honoring this year’s Leflore County Hall of Fame inductee, which is the late Elizabeth C. “Pann” Powers.

Powers, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 86, was an active member of the community.

“When I came in as chamber director 15 years ago, she was a Chamber Ambassador. You could tell that Pann loved this community, and she was involved with so many different things,” said Stevens.

For more than 50 years, she served on the board of directors of Beacon Harbor.

“Pann was a very big advocate for Beacon Harbor,” said Stevens.

Rather than receiving a physical award, the chamber will make a donation to Beacon Harbor in recognition of her service.

In addition to her work with Beacon Harbor, Powers directed the Cerebral Palsy Speech Center for 19 years and was executive director of the National Kidney Foundation of Mississippi. She was director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Greenwood and a charter board member of Habitat for Humanity and the Community Food Pantry. She served as a chair for the advisory council of The Salvation Army, the Museum of the Mississippi Delta (formerly Cottonlandia) Foundation, United Way of Leflore County, the Advisory Committee of Life Help, Matinee Musicale, LeBonte Woman’s Club, Altrusa International of Greenwood, American Association of University Women, American Red Cross, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, and three different Chamber of Commerce committees.

She was president of the Mississippi Federation of Women’s Clubs and served on numerous church committees and at least a dozen committees for the state of Mississippi, including one as the appointee of five chief justices of the Supreme Court of Mississippi to the Mississippi Ethics Commission.

Powers received two master’s degrees from George Peabody College in Nashville. She taught at the University of Mississippi, and while there she earned a master’s in speech pathology.

She was past president of Mississippi Public Broadcasting and served as a member of the Greenwood School Board. Powers was a member of Zeta Phi Beta at Vanderbilt University.

Leflore County Hall of Fame

Bryn Stole

In 2014, Jack Bilotta, the Greenwood plant manager for the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company, presented Elizabeth “Pann” Powers of the Greenwood-Leflore Fuller Center for Housing with a $2,000 check and a stack of power tools. From left are volunteer Jim C. Powell; Emily Roush-Elliott; Baptist Town residents Alice Leflore and Daniel Willingham; Greenwood-Leflore Carroll Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Angela Curry; Bilotta; Powers and her husband, Robert “Rocky” Powers, also of the Fuller Center; and Mormon missionaries Sister Whitmore and Sister Jones. The late Pann Powers will be honored at the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and inducted into the Leflore County Hall of Fame.

She was the recipient of the Lions Club Outstanding Citizen of Leflore County, the Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassador of the Year, the Commonwealth’s Community Service Award and the American Cancer Society’s Advocacy Award. She was recognized by the Delta Business Journal as one of the Top 16 most recognized volunteers in the Mississippi Delta.

“Her reach was so much further out than Leflore County,” said Stevens. “She was just one of those people who you knew she loved doing things for others and was passionate about it.”

Powers’ husband, Rocky Powers, and family will attend the annual meeting.

“I think it’s wonderful that they have recognized her, and I know my family is going to be pleased,” said Rocky.

The annual meeting will also feature an update on the chamber, including highlights from the past year and its current and future plans.

The chamber will also officially pass the gavel from the 2018 board president, Beth Williams, to this year’s president, Eric Miller. Both will give remarks.

“It’s definitely the largest business gathering and a great opportunity to come out and network,” said Stevens. “And, where else are you going to have this many great Greenwood restaurants under one roof and with their signature dishes?”

The popular Taste of Greenwood will include food samplings from Webster’s, Viking Cooking School, Mai Little China, Grapevine Catering and Floral, Giardina’s, What’s Cooking, Honest Abe’s, Greenwood Country Club, Crystal Grill, The Landing Convenience Store, By the Bridge Bistro, Greenwood Market Place, Bo’s Bar-B-Q, Drake’s BBQ, Station 222, Park Cafe, Larry’s Fish House, No Way Jose, La Terraza, Pizza Inn, Veronica’s, Lusco’s, Capricorn Internet Cafe, Double Quick, Domino’s and Tasty Sipz.

Participating in the business expo are Greenwood Board of Realtors, First Data, Greenwood Leflore Hospital, Halcyon Hospice, Sunflower Home Health, Staplcotn, Southern Security Federal Credit Union, Mallory Health Center, Life Help, Upchurch Telecom & Data, Sta-Home Home Health, Alluvian Spa, Families First for Mississippi, Continue Care Home Health, Mitchell Distributing, Mississippi MoJo, Malouf Furniture Co., The Good Reason and Fast Pace Urgent Care.

“It’s always humbling for me to see the kind of support that we get when all the business community comes out and celebrates who we are and what we do,” said Stevens. “We’re also glad to have the community celebrate with us and come get a little glimpse of what we are all about.”

Tickets are on sale. A corporate table seating eight is $450, an individual ticket is $50 and an Expo booth is $120, which includes two tickets.

For more information or to purchase corporate seating, individual tickets or an Expo booth, visit greenwoodmschamber.com or call 453-4152.

• Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7233 or rrobison@gwcommonwealth.com.

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