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Shireman recognized, Voelker humorized by Chamber

Shireman recognized, Voelker humorized by Chamber
Shireman recognized, Voelker humorized by Chamber
Bill Taylor, left, shares a laugh with Darrell Voelker during a tribute to Voelker at Thursday's 72nd annual Chamber meeting. (Photo by Jonathan O'Bannon)

The Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County celebrated its 72nd year Thursday while recognizing one of the county’s most philanthropic families and honoring the Chamber’s exuberant past director.
Some 350 guests attended the annual Chamber dinner at Caesars’ Colosseum which featured Jack C. Camper, president of the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber in Tucson, Ariz., as guest speaker.
‘Profit is a six-letter word. It’s not a four-letter word, so it’s not a bad word. It’s OK to make profit a part of your community,’ Camper told an audience of area business, political and economic leaders.
Businesses exist to make a profit, create jobs and provide a lifestyle, Camper said.
He said businesses should encourage their employees to vote and make them aware of which candidates support measures which will help their business be successful.
Camper also talked about traits of a good business leader.
‘You have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you talk,’ he said, also listing stamina, energy and stability among a leader’s strengths.
Stability in leadership was something the Chamber enjoyed for nearly 18 years during Darrell Voelker’s tenure.
Voelker was named executive director in 1987 but switched roles to Economic Development Director last summer. This was the first dinner for the Chamber’s new leader, Barbara Middleton, a past president.
‘Isn’t it amazing what some people will do to get to the front of the buffet line,’ she quipped.
Membership in the Chamber continues to grow, according to the annual report given by Middleton at the dinner. The Chamber recruited 48 new members last year to bring total membership to 417.
Middleton also described monthly activities attended by Chamber members in 2005 as well as various business promotions undertaken in whole or in part by the Chamber.
The President’s Award didn’t have a winner this year. It had many.
President Pam Bennett Martin named the James L. Shireman family as the recipient of this award for being ‘an instrumental part in the development of our county in many ways.’
The patriarch of the Shireman family never graduated from high school, nevertheless he was ‘an excellent carpenter and one of the finest bricklayers you ever saw,’ said Martin in her presentation.
That sort of praise led to the formation of James L. Shireman Construction, which has been in business for 50 years. Shireman has been married to his wife, Mary, for 58 years, and their five children and their children’s children are an active part of the community.
‘Doctors’ office buildings, body shops, banks, restaurants and a YMCA to name a few are all tastefully done in a manner that complements our community.
‘They have also given thousands of dollars back to Harrison County in fund-raisers, building campaigns, Harrison County community serv-ices, Angel Tree children during the holiday season, and educational endowments to give others the opportunity to get an education and maybe come back to Harrison County to make this a good place to live.
‘This family wants to and has made a difference in our community by their work, community involvement and financial commitment,’ Martin said.
After James Shireman and a large showing of family members took the stage for the presentation of a Zimmerman Art Glass ‘flame’ plaque, the dinner closed with a very different presentation.
The Chamber commemorated the highly-animated Darrell Voelker’s years of leadership with a slide show set to music.
Among the highlights were photos of Voelker darting down Elm Street in Corydon wearing a Zorro costume and making a comical face behind Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman as she spoke at a podium.
Also recognized for her service with the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau was Marge Timberlake who retired this year.