Tyson wins Chamber award
This year’s recipient of the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County President’s Award for Community Service was presented to Tyson Foods Thursday night at the annual Chamber dinner meeting.
The prestigious award was presented by outgoing Chamber president Barbara K. Middleton to David Whittington, manager of the Corydon Tyson complex, who was backed on stage by a half dozen Tyson ‘team members.’
‘This year’s recipient has invested more than $20 million in their Corydon facility since 1998, has 550 team members, and has helped make our community a better place,’ Middleton told the crowd of about 350 business and community leaders in the Colosseum at Caesars Indiana in Bridgeport.
Middleton said Tyson’s community service has been all-inclusive. Members of the Tyson team hold leadership positions and are involved in the United Way, Friends of Harrison County Youth, the YMCA, the Harrison County Fair Board, the 4-H Council and the Chamber.
‘That’s quite an impressive list, but their community service doesn’t stop there,’ Middleton said.
Tyson employees have taken big parts in various fund-raisers, including the Heart Walk, Relay for Life, Harrison County Metro United Way, Leadership Harrison County, Cock-a-Doodle Days, and the YMCA. Tyson gave $50,000 to the YMCA Capital campaign and $20,000 for the Friends of Youth baseball fields, Middleton said.
Last summer, after tornadoes ravaged Marengo, Tyson provided food for the volunteers and workers there. Tyson has also collected food for the Kentucky Harvest and has been a major part of Earth Day celebration. ‘Tyson has also hidden many an egg for the community Easter Egg Hunt,’ Middleton said. Adding to the list of Chamber events supported by Tyson, Middleton included Business After Hours, Showcase Harrison County, a 12 at 12 Luncheon, the Members’ Day Golf Outing and the ‘Images of Harrison County’ magazine,
Whittington thanked the Chamber, and quickly credited Tyson’s employees.
The award prresentation followed Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman’s address. She was welcomed with a standing ovation before saying a word.
Among the goals of the Daniels-Skillman Administration, she said, are taking state government on the road to reach the people and improving the quality of life for all our residents. That, she said, means boosting the economy in rural areas. ‘Three out of five counties in Indiana are above the state average in unemployment,’ she said.
Gov. Mitch Daniels has signed into law the creation of an economic development corporation which will assist in ‘business development and business expansion, and be able to do it at the speed of business,’ she said to much applause.
The 11-member economic development board and the governor are ‘pursuing 400 leads for business expansion,’ Skillman said, adding that she and the governor make personal calls daily to other states to try to attract business into Indiana.
She pledged to help all areas of the state obtain access to high-speed Internet service. ‘Sixty percent of rural Hoosiers have no access to that technology,’ she said.
And Skillman pledged her administration’s help in reinventing the economies of small towns across Indiana. ‘We cannot become a state of the haves and the have-nots,’ she said.
She described Harrison County as a place that’s always been on the cutting edge, one of the places that make Indiana a great place to live. ‘It’s also a great place to visit,’ she said, segueying smartly into: ‘Tourism is Big Business in Indiana.’
Tourism, she said, ‘Makes each of us ambassadors.’
Skillman and the governor are proposing an ‘Office of Tourism Development,’ Skillman said, and challenged the Chamber to continue its promotional efforts as well. ‘We are all in this together,’ she concluded.
The Chamber also honored a Caesars’ employee for his volunteer ‘Above and Beyond’ service. Chamber treasurer Donn Blank presented the award to Chris Schwaniger, a financial analyst with Caesars.
Incoming Chamber president Pam Bennett Martin also addressed the crowd briefly as did Chamber executive director Darrell Voelker.