Awards were presented online due to pandemic
Never let it be said the Angier Chamber of Commerce was stopped by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, especially when it comes to the annual awards.
While the virus put a halt to all the pomp and circumstance usually involved with the banquet, chamber officials named the recipients through an email to members.
“In the midst of a pandemic, the chamber wanted to do its part to try and keep the public safe,” director Shelby Blackmon said. “We felt it best to cancel any in-person events until the situation improves.”
The chamber honored three people very familiar to anyone who has spent any amount of time in Angier. The same is true for the business honored by the organization. All three are in some way a major portion of the community as is the winner of the Ellington Award.
Woman of The Year — Rachel Barnes
Town historian, lifelong resident and director of The Angier Museum, Rachel Barnes was named the chamber’s Woman of the Year.
Barnes worked for the state revenue department prior to being a bookkeeper for a tobacco and fertilizer warehouse and an insurance company before becoming the Angier agent for the D&S Railroad.
When the railroad ceased operations, Barnes took on the task of raising funds to buy the land where the depot stood where she worked. The railroad donated the depot to the town. She was instrumental in not only the purchase of the caboose and crew car that now sit on the Depot Square/R.H. Ellington Grounds, she also was a founder of the Crepe Myrtle Celebration.
“Our Woman of the Year has remained active in town by serving on a bank board, on the board of directors for the Health Center on the advisory board for the Main Street Program, as director of the Angier Museum, and is Angier’s local historian,” chamber officials wrote. “She is also the event coordinator for the Angier Senior Citizens Center, she’s responsible for the annual Senior Citizen’s Health Fair at Angier Black River Fire Department and she also delivers Meals on Wheels.”
Man of the Year — Jesse Cann
One of the most visible residents of Angier, Jesse Cann, who goes by another name during the holidays and whenever he’s seen in public doing official work, operates a nonprofit ministry along with his wife to provide help and comfort to those who are in need of a friend.
In addition, Cann and his wife share the joy of Christmas 365 days a year through their efforts. He delivers food and groceries to low income and disabled residents, helps with back-to-school backpacks, participates in the local To Make A Child Smile event each year and does many more things.
“Angier has the most precious Santa of them all,” chamber officials wrote. “The 2019 Man of the Year, also known as Santa, is the best example of Saint Nicholas … a man who is celebrated because of his love and care of those in his community who need it the most. He genuinely cares for everyone he comes in contact with. The 2019 Man of the Year is a man that stands out for how much he cares and does for the community.”
Business of the Year — Brick & Mortar Grill
The Brick & Mortar Grill is a family-owned business, opened in 2014. Located in the heart of downtown Angier, it has become a place where many residents find themselves.
The owners have become investors in the community and strive to provide great service to both customers and the town.
“Their meal offerings are slightly different from what you might expect to find in a small town eatery, which is part of what makes this business stand out and helps their business to continue to grow year after year,” chamber officials wrote. “They keep their business beautifully and pleasantly decorated inside and out. In 2019, they celebrated their five-year anniversary with a street fair, which brought a lot of people to downtown Angier.”
R.H. Ellington Award — Town of Angier Public Works Department
The chamber honored a department of the town for its efforts to keep Angier looking good and maintaining that appearance throughout the year.
The public works department is responsible for making sure everything is in order from the grass and hanging baskets to the Christmas decorations.
“Angier is indeed fortunate to have a team that takes such care in the appearance of our town as much as they care about a water main break, sanitation needs or facilities breakdown,” chamber officials wrote.
President’s Award — Delores Stephenson
Outgoing chamber president Alan Coats named Delores Stephenson the recipient of the 2019 President’s Award.
“As outgoing president, it is my responsibility to select a recipient of the chamber President’s Award,” outgoing president Alan Coats said. “An award created to recognize outstanding work for either the town, civic organization or community. Well, I consider this a privilege and not a responsibility as one person came immediately to mind that fell into all categories.”
Coats described her current help to the community through her part-time job with the license plate agency. He credits her for her desire to help keep the office running during a shortage of workers.
“Without her dedication, there were many days I am not sure they could operate,” Coats said. “Always ready to fill in more hours as needed and all the while with a smile on her face. When the DMV was faced with extended months of an employee shortage, she stepped up to full time to cover the lack of manpower required to operate and to keep the job open for her fellow employees. All the while managing stay active in the community and church.”
-Dunn Daily Record