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John Dahlia – Good News – Chamber Annual Dinner set for April 6, Outstanding event planned

In a little less than a month, the Preston County Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual dinner and presentation of business awards.

The special event will take place beginning at 5:30 p.m., April 6 at Camp Dawson. The guest speaker will be West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee.

For those of you who don’t know, Gee is one of America’s most prominent higher education leaders, having helmed universities for more than three decades. In 2009, Time magazine named him one of the top 10 university presidents in the United States. In 2014, Gee returned to West Virginia University, where his career as a university president began. His leadership goals include putting students first, advancing the university’s research agenda, partnering with West Virginia communities and making sure that 1.8 million West Virginians know in their hearts and minds that West Virginia University is their university.

Gee, who’s no stranger to Preston County, has visited the area a few times, most recently when he showed up at the newly opened Preston County Tourism Center on Price Street back in the fall.

He also took part in the groundbreaking ceremony at the old Reedsville Farm in April 2015, celebrating a massive, $6.7 million gift from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust. The farm’s name officially changed at the event to the J.W. Ruby Research Farm and the Hazel Ruby McQuain Equine and Resource Center.

Something else to look forward to at the Chamber event next month is the full-course dinner. Each year, the outstanding dinner is provided by the culinary experts from Appalachian Mountain Heritage Foods, led by Chef Claudia of the Liberty Restaurant at Camp Dawson.

But aside from the keynote address from WVU President Gee and amazing food, the highlight of the event is, of course, the local business awards.

Last year, the award winners included: Business of the Year: Victory Auto Group Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealership in Kingwood.

New Business of the Year: Shorthorns Restaurant & Saloon

Sheila G. Haney Ambassador of the Year: ‘Tire Lady,’ Christine Croucher at Rainbow Tire

Longevity Award: The McGrew Society

Special Recognition: Kim Riley, Tim Calvert, Joe Smith and Jessica Miller Lipscomb

More than 200 people attended the event held at Camp Dawson. Former West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Keith Burdette was the keynote speaker.

I am eager to see which new and existing businesses will be recognized on April 6. I believe the business awards will be equally outstanding as the ones handed out last year.

As in the past two years, our staff will be developing special stories on each of the exceptional businesses recognized by the Chamber in the pages of our special Chamber of Commerce insert to be published in the Preston County News on Friday, April 7.

The extra newspaper will be packed with local content and photos of the award winning businesses and people that make our community so amazing.

For more information about the Preston County Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 annual dinner or if you would like to be a sponsor or attendee, call 304-329-0576 or email Executive Director Kristy Ash at

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