Kershaw is a thriving community with hometown appeal. The community was the theme of the Annual Kershaw Chamber of Commerce banquet that was held that the Kershaw Country Club on Tuesday evening.
Mitch Smith, the guest speaker, is a Kershaw native, a 1985 graduate of Andrew Jackson High School, and an owner of five technology companies. Smith works with executives who want to improve their personal and company performance.
Communities are made up of several parts, schools, churches, government, and businesses. “No community can be without businesses,” said Smith as he encouraged the packed banquet room crowd. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not important. You must have vision. We have to have a vision about how well we do.”
He praised the town in that he saw all but one storefront occupied with a business. “We engage one person at a time. He described five keys to being successful. 1. You must have a framework of character and competence, 2. You need habits to live by, 3 You need to make time for yourself. 4. You need to have a habit of repetition of doing the right thing, and 5. Goals. He used dominoes to illustrate a point about always seeing and setting achievable goals. “When we know the why, the how is easy,” Smith said.
Smith used a quote by Winston Churchill. “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at barking dogs.” He encouraged the audience to ask themselves ‘What is the one thing that if you did well would make everything right.”
The Chamber awards outstanding individuals and community members during the banquet and this years’ recipients are as follows. Community Impact award goes to Frontline Biker Church for their regular efforts to help the community. Community Pride award was given to Kershaw Area Resource Exchange. A second Community Pride award was given to the Wreaths Across America program for being just one of 13 communities in South Carolina to host this program.
The Business of the Year award was given to Tommy Northern Allstate Insurance. “I have learned that if you are on a board, don’t miss any meeting because this is what you will get. We came here and did not know a soul except Tammy Reynolds. I told my wife I want to come in here and do the very best I can. It is difficult to come in and replace a legend like Mr. Catoe. He built a good business with hard work. To come behind that is always difficult. My father taught me that the first thing you do for people is to show them you really do care, and whatever happens after that is the Lord’s will. This has been the best decision we have ever made. I love my job and I love this town.”
The John T. Stevens award was given to Beverly Timmons for her years of dedicated work to improve the community and the lives of Kershaw residents. The President’s award was given to Wade Hunter.
The Citizen of the year award was given to Craigan Blankenship. “I am honestly blindsided by this. I feel like the older I get in my faith, I figure out more of what I don’t know than what I do know. The few things I do know are powerful. One of the things I figured out a few years ago was that you can’t ever mess up serving people. You can mess up a lot in life, but you can’t mess up serving people.” He acknowledged that he could not have done this without those around him. The award should have about 200 names on it according to Blankenship. “It is awesome to be part of a community of communities.” Said Blankenship.