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Quality leadership is recognized

Monday night, the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual banquet, honoring several local business and community leaders along the way.

Kenny Freeman, through his unrelenting support of DHS athletics, was awarded the Community Spirit Award. For those of you who know Kenny well, you know that his loyalty to Demopolis High School, Coach Tom Causey and his young athletes is unwavering.

Rebecca Hasty was named the Chamber Volunteer of the Year for her dedication to helping ensure the smooth running of many of the Chamber’s critical events this year.

The University of West Alabama/Demopolis Higher Education Center was presented with an award for Business of the Year.

The school has made a great commitment to Demopolis, and we are very fortunate to have them here.

John Cox Webb – a man whose list of accomplishments is both vast and varied – was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. A more deserving person of this award likely does not exist.

Finally, John Northcutt was named Citizen of the Year. John and I have a brief history that pre-dates my official arrival to Demopolis. Before being offered the job at this newspaper, Tiffany and I traveled to the city, just to try and get a feel for the town.

John served as our tour guide.

This was a business day, and I’m sure he had 2,000 other things that needed his attention, but we would never know it.

John shuttled Tiffany and I all over town, pointing out the new businesses and reciting the history of business-lost.

It was easy to see that he cared a great deal for his community.

The day after our tour, I jumped at the chance to come to Demopolis. If there was ever any doubt, John’s enthusiasm wiped all that away.

The day a story announcing my arrival here ran in the newspaper, John was the first person to call and welcome me.

For the first few months, he would call to check in and make sure I was finding my way.

At every after-hours event, he was the first friendly face I sought out, and he introduced me to a lot of people I may otherwise never have known. It’s always nice to have a conversational icebreaker like John when you’re the new kid in town.

People like John Northcutt, Rebecca Hasty, John Cox Webb and Kenny Freeman are the people driving this town’s successes and its growth. It’s people like them that helped attract UWA to our town. Their dedication and leadership – and the environment it creates – have helped recruit countless families and jobs to this area and they will all be a key component as Demopolis enters a new phase ripe for growth.

Jason Cannon is publisher of the Demopolis Times.