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Chamber distributes ‘Best’ awards to local winners

Erwin Record Photo by Richard Rourk / From left: Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce Representative Dustin Brown watches Marsha Blackburn Field Representative Michael Hensley present PlastiExports Business Leader JP Metcalf with a flag during the chamber’s Best of Unicoi County Awards this week. Brown, Hensley and Metcalf were joined by Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Delp and Unicoi County Chamber Representative Tim Lingerfelt.

By Richard Rourk

Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce employees had a hectic week delivering awards to winners of the recent Best of Unicoi County recognition competition. Representatives from the Chamber have been traveling around the county handing out awards for the Best of Unicoi County.

“The Best of Unicoi County Awards were done a little different this year,” Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Delp told The Erwin Record. “Instead of the traditional one-night ceremony, we are sending our board members to individual businesses and presenting the awards on Facebook Live all week.”

The Best of Unicoi County Award winners received a plaque and letters from the individuals that nominated them.

One award winner received something a little extra. Not only did PlastiExport’s Business Leader JP Metcalf win the Distinguished Service to the Community Award, but he also got a personal gift from U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn.

“This is a flag that has flown over the Capitol building and the Senator wanted you to have it in recognition of all that you did for Unicoi County,” Marsha Blackburn Field Representative Michael Hensley said to Metcalf on March 3. Metcalf said he was both honored and humbled by receiving the award and the gift from Senator Blackburn.

“This feels really good to be recognized and I’m honored,” Metcalf said. “I will continue to do all I can to promote Unicoi County and to bring jobs here.”

Other award winners included Walmart, which won Large Business of the Year. Family Auto Care won Small Business of the Year. Clinchfield Credit Union won the Professional Services award. Unicoi County Search and Rescue won the Non-Profit of the Year award. Dr. Charles Miller, who owns and operates Unaka Internal Medicine, was presented with the Healthcare Award. Clarence’s Drive-In Restaurant won the Hospitality and Tourism award. Educator of the Year went to Nancy Grindstaff, who teaches business classes at Unicoi County CTE.

According to Delp, these awards are a reminder of why Unicoi County is such a wonderful place to live.

“We love to be able to honor those that have really made a difference in our community,” Delp said. “I just want to say thank you to all that were nominated and to all that won.”