I attended the Fayette Chamber banquet this past Saturday night and it turned out to be an evening I will never forget.
Fifty years ago I worked with the Jaycees here and local interested business men to form a chamber of commerce. Those first few years were thin on funds, places to meet and trying to interest other Fayette County businesses to join. The population then was no more than 10,000 all together. None of us could even begin to realize a 50th chamber anniversary in a county that had 112,000 citizens.
I ran the chamber out of my living room for its first four years and the chamber telephone number just happen to be my home phone number. The telephone supervisor in Jonesboro knew this and, bless his heart, he never said a word.
Our first annual banquet was in the Masonic Lodge in Fayetteville and it was pot luck!
Local business men decided to bite the bullet, serve as its first presidents, visit other businessmen, and, just generally speaking, hold onto the idea of a chamber of commerce.
Eventually it had its own building, a couple hundred members and began to feel its influence in the county.
I had to find a job that paid money and give up my immediate “position” with this organization. But needless to say, I have always kept in touch and helped out when needed.
If you had told me in 1967 that I would be alive to help celebrate its 50th anniversary I probably wouldn’t have believed it. But in 2017 here I am!
I was given a seat at the banquet at the chamber table and a lovely corsage pinned on my jacket. I haven’t been given a corsage in over five decades.
Among those chamber members given awards, I got one too. A nice plaque for my 50 years of dedication and service and most surprising of all, one of its awards was renamed The Carolyn Cary Award. Wow! I did what any other old lady would do about this time, and a little tear or two formed.
I said it a couple weeks ago, if you have a good idea or see a better way of doing something, hang in there until you see it happen. Will you get an award for it? Probably not, but you’ll have the satisfaction of making the world a better place.