PHOTOS: Chamber awards: Smalley named Citizen of the Year

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By John Overby

The Springfield-Washington County Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards banquet on Friday night at St. Catharine College in Springfield, where several local residents were honored for their contributions to the community throughout the years.


Awards included the citizen of the year, the young leader of the year, the agriculture lifetime achievement award, the agriculture leader of the year and the sidewalk hall of fame.

Chamber President John Weis also announced that the winner of the lifetime achievement award could not be in attendance, so that honor will given at a later date.

Citizen of the Year
The “Citizen of the Year” award was received by Bernard Smalley, head coach of the WCHS Commanderettes and parks and recreation director of Idle Hour Park.

The award was presented by Hal B. Goode, who described Smalley as “someone who is very loyal to his community.”

Smalley is an inductee into the WC Athletic Hall of Fame and has been park director since 1994.

Some of the improvements during his time as park director include three new fields, new pavilion, new walking track, new parking lot, redesign large baseball field and seating area, two upper fields and improved handicapped bathrooms, among others.

“If you mention Bernard’s name,” Goode said, “you’ll hear nothing but positive when it comes to Bernard Smalley.”

Youth Leadership
The “Youth Leadership” award was presented by WCHS teacher Ryan New to WCHS senior Seth Robinson.

Robinson is a member of the student council, went to governor’s scholar this past summer, is a member of the golf and bass fishing teams, has been elected class president on multiple occasions and is a member of NHS, 4-H and Teen Leadership, among other things.

New, who has had Robinson in class for four years, described the award recipient as “a young man who’s going to be able to go places.”

Ag Achievement
This year’s “Ag Achievement” award was given to Rick Greenwell, who has been WC’s ag agent for 43 years.

He is only the second person to ever hold that position in the county.

Presenter Richard Medley was impressed with Greenwell’s devotion to his hometown.

“Doing what he’s done for so long shows how deep his dedication to agriculture in Washington County is,” Medley said.

Ag Leader of the Year
Before Medley presented Greenwell’s award, Greenwell first had the opportunity to hand Medley the “Ag Leader of the Year” award.

Greenwell talked about how abundant young farmers are in WC compared to other counties and discussed Medley’s merits as one of those members of the proud fraternity.

“There aren’t a lot of young farmers in other counties, but Washington County is blessed in this area,” Greenwell said, “and (Medley) is very, very worthy of this award.”

Sidewalk Hall of Fame

Last year, the “Sidewalk Hall of Fame” award was dedicated to the Springfield State Bank rather than one individual. That trend continued during this year’s ceremony as a couple—Bobby and Belle Sutton—was bestowed the honor.

Their son, Isaac, who noted that this award is presented each year “to those who have given their time or financial support to the harvest festival,” presented the award.

Isaac described his parents as having “an endearing love to their community.”

Belle added that she and her husband “love [the harvest festival] just as much as the kids do.”

Entrepreneur of the Year
The inaugural “Entrepreneur of the Year” award was received by Wesley Smith.

Smith’s father, Steve, presented the award, saying that entrepreneurs “see things in a different light.”

He also described his son as “one of the hardest working people in this community.”

Chamber Member of the Year
Weis presented the “Chamber Member of the Year” award to John Graves.

Weis cited Graves’ duty to the chamber as “above and beyond” what is asked of him.

“He’ll go out of his way to help any way he can,” Weis said. “You can’t ask for anyone better than that.”