Since its inception in 1975, the A.L. Girardin Award has been presented to a member of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber that has made extraordinary contributions to the Chamber and the local business community. Oftentimes the award highlights the efforts of an individual, but this year the Chamber recognized the outstanding contributions of both Beverly Edwards of Southwest Georgia Bank and Lee McArthur of Voya Financial.
“I have to say I was very, very surprised and humbled to receive this award from the Chamber,” said Edwards. “I try to help wherever I’m needed. This membership drive was one that I had a lot of fun with.”
Edwards is referring to a membership drive that the Chamber hosted this past fall. Her team was able to recruit 29 new members, more than any other participating group. Edwards credits the Chamber for helping to develop those business relationships in the community.
“Valdosta is my community,” she said in a phone interview. “I love getting people involved with the Chamber because it’s all about doing the best you can for the place you call home. I’m a firm believer that you get back what you put into things, and I feel that we all have an obligation as citizens to be active and involved community members – that’s the only way that things are going to get better. I’m proud to be from Valdosta and I’m proud to be a member of this Five Star Chamber.”
Building a strong community was the message emphasized by both award recipients. McArthur, who has been involved in many Chamber committees including the South Georgia Military Affairs Council, Right Start Committee and Valdosta Networking Professionals, emphasized the importance of a healthy business climate driving a strong community.
“When you wake up in the morning and realize what a wonderful community we have, you have to consider that many of the components of that wonderful, healthy community come as a result of a strong business sector,” McArthur noted. “That’s where the Chamber comes in and that’s why it’s easy to be a part of it.”
The A.L. Girardin Award is named for “Pop” Girardin who was an ardent supporter of the Chamber. After his death in 1975, “Pop” Girardin’s son and grandson inaugurated the award in his honor. It is presented each year at the Chamber’s Annual Membership Meeting.
For more information about the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber, visit www.ValdostaChamber.com.