Dayton Chamber of Commerce 2016 Banquet

Dayton Chamber of Commerce Banquet 2016
L-R Kerry Nabors Volunteer of the Year Award, Sara Gatlin Business Woman of the Year, Chamber President Jennifer Shoffner, Stephen Brown Ambassador of the year, Condra Lea Carter DYW and Vaughn Berger Past Chamber President. (Photo by Dean Wilson)

 Dayton Chamber of Commerce Holds 2016 Banquet With Record Attendance

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce 62nd Annual Banquet was held Monday night March 28, 2016 at the Latimer Student Center, on Bryan College Campus. Ambassadors, board members, and chamber members came together for this annual event.

Welcoming everyone to the event was Chamber President Jennifer Shoffner followed with the invocation presented by Dr. Stephen Livesay, President of Bryan College.

In addition to promoting local businesses, the Dayton Chamber of Commerce is also tasked with the responsibility of organizing one of the largest festivals in the state. The planning and organizing of the 2016 Tennessee Strawberry Festival is spearheaded by   Mrs. Linda Blevins. Blevins gave a report on the status of this year’s Strawberry Festival. Blevins said that everything is moving along great. We have a lot of wonderful events, great entertainment and plenty of good food planned for this year’s festival. There will be  plenty to do for the entire family. We are super excited about this year’s theme, “Strawberries in Candyland” as we celebrate the 69th year of the festival.  We look forward to seeing you all at this year’s festival stated Blevins.

2015 Distinguished Young Woman of Rhea County, Condra Lea Carter.
2015 Distinguished Young Woman of Rhea County, Condra Lea Carter. (Photo by Dean Wilson)

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce has annually supported a scholarship for the winner of the Distinguished Young Women’s Program.. This past September, a golf tournament was held with 15 teams playing to raise money to support the $3000.00 scholarship. The DYW Program is a national scholarship program that  positively impacts the lives of young women across the country. Chamber Pres. Shoffner said that it was her privilege to present the scholarship to this year’s Distinguished Young Woman, Condra Lea Carter.

Dayton Chamber of Commerce ambassador president Ms. Melissa Wood, recognized and presented Stephen Brown with the award for Chamber Ambassador of the Year. Mr. Brown is the pastor of the Dayton Church of Christ, located on Highway 30, in downtown Dayton.

Ms. Debbie Ballard,  Dayton Chamber of Commerce board member, recognized and presented Sara Gatlin with the Business Woman of the Year award. Mrs. Gatlin is the owner and operator of the Cumberland Café located on Market Street in downtown Dayton.

Mr. Randy Wells presented a pre-recorded video presentation which was made earlier in the week  recognizing and  presenting Dennis Van Meter with the Business Man of the Year award. Mr. Van Meter and family were previously scheduled to be out of town and could not attend the banquet.

Dennis Vanmeter Businessman of the Year.
L-R Randy Wells, Dennis Vanmeter Businessman of the year, Jennifer Vanmeter and Linda Blevins (Photo by Dean Wilson)

Also, Mr. Wells presented the Gill and Anna Kyle Volunteer of the Year award, to Kerry Nabors.

Chamber Pres. Shoffner introduced the guest speaker, Mrs. Connie Vaughn of McKee Bakery. Mrs. Vaughn, a long time employee of McKee Bakery, gave a presentation of how the company originated and become the successful company that it is today.

At the close of the evening the benediction was given by Ambassador Steve Brown, pastor of the Dayton Church of Christ.

It has been a great evening said Cynthia Rodriguez, the Dayton Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant. We had a record total of 270 in attendance this evening. In all my years with the chamber, I don’t ever remember a crowd like this stated Rodriguez. On behalf of the Chamber,  I would like to thank A.J. of Pioneer Catering and Bryan College for the wonderful job they did in helping us to put this banquet together this evening. We’re looking forward to another great year ahead.

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce Mission Statement: The Dayton Chamber of Commerce is organized to promote the advancement of the civic, commercial, industrial, recreational and agricultural interest in Dayton and Rhea County, and the prosperity of the community as a whole.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, visit their website at for more information.




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Dean is a Contributing Editor with Rhea Review. Dean has developed an interest in local history and has published a historical website relating to our history.


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